4YE’s Big Movie Binge: Not Another Happy Ending

Credit: Synchronicity Films

Karen Gillan, fresh off her fantastic turn as Doctor Who’s Amelia Pond-Williams, followed up on her success in the world of science fiction in the rom-com, Not Another Happy Ending. Gillan plays Jane Lockhart, who is a runaway success as a writer in Scotland. It’s hard to believe that the film is almost five years old. While watching the film, it’s obvious that a lot of the things present then, wouldn’t probably fly in a film made for today’s women/rom-com audience. But, that’s neither here nor there. Not Another Happy Ending feels surprisingly different than most romantic comedies. I wouldn’t say it’s fresh but it’s enough that Jane is quirky and adorable. Gillan certainly carries the film quite well.

Jane has a rejection board, a board of rejection letter she’s pinned up to look at as she tries, unsuccessfully, to sell her debut novel The Endless Anguish of My Father. A Frenchman, Thomas (Stanley Weber), and owner of Tristesse publishing company takes a chance and decides to publish Jane’s book. As they go about editing the novel, the two of them grow closer together until Tom decides to change the name of her book without consulting her about it. Jane gets upset and decides to break off their budding relationship. The Endless Anguish of My Father, or Happy Ending as it ends up being named, turns out to be a runaway success. Her ensuing happiness and relationship with screenwriter Willie Scott (Henry Ian Cusick) puts her in a writer’s block. She can’t finish her last chapter. So, Tom decides to make her miserable in any way possible, but, of course, the results aren’t exactly what either Jane or Tom was expecting.

The premise of this film is problematic, even I’ll admit to that. A story about a publisher that breaks into his author’s flat: makes her believe horrible things, tries to make her miserable, and lies to her. It isn’t exactly something you’d see on the big screen in this day and age. Putting that aside, even though the story isn’t the greatest, I do have to say that the acting was fabulous. I did enjoy the movie.

Gillan has always been a fantastic actor. Since breaking out onto the scene in Doctor Who, many have seen her chops. Even through her blue Guardians of the Galaxy face paint, she manages to be expressive. Here, her emotive capabilities are on full display. Gillian carries Not Another Happy Ending fully on her brilliant shoulders. This is her movie. Despite the fact that Weber’s Tom and his partner in crime, Roddy (Iain De Caestecker), get a lot of screen time, no one can take this story and this film away from Gillan. She is Jane Lockhart. For a majority of the film, I forgot I was watching Gillan. She disappeared into her role. For me, that’s exactly what acting is. She did it with finesse.

Of course, I can’t ignore Weber. Weber played a charming publisher with some serious issues and he did so with nearly a perfect amount of torture and pain. I kind of hope that Weber and Gillan end up in another film together. They had a great amount of chemistry and their comedic timing together didn’t feel forced. They really played well off of each other.

Not Another Happy Ending was never going to win awards or be the greatest rom-com ever but it holds its own despite its flawed premise. Its dated take on women and men working together and forging a relationship. Despite that, Gillan and the entire cast delivered solid performances that transcend the writing.

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Shelby Arnold

Shelby is currently reviewer extraordinaire for 4YE. She is also currently the co-editor of Arkansas Tech University's paper The Arka Tech. She runs her own movie review blog called Shellin' Out Reviews where she crossposts many of her reviews. She previously was a staff writer at PopWrapped.

Shelby started writing at the age of 13 and has been hooked ever since. She's currently going to school at ATU for Creative Writing and English with a minor in Film Studies. She hopes to one day be a professor of film, a film critic, and a screenwriter. (Can you tell she likes the movies?)

She hopes to walk the red carpet one day. She contributes a long list of friends, co-workers, professors, and writers as the inspiration for her dreams and goals.

You can find Shelby on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
Shelby Arnold
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One comment

  1. It almost won an award. Iain De Caestecker was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA for this movie. Rightfully so.

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