Starring: Hugh Grant, Marisa Tomei, Bella Heathcote
Director: Marc Lawrence
Running Time: 107 mins
The Rewrite is an American film about a former Oscar-winning screenwriter struggling for work in Hollywood who takes up a job teaching screenwriting in a small university, and stumbles across a single mother taking classes there.
I quite enjoyed this film. From the outset, it doesn’t hide itself as a typical fluffy romantic comedy, complete with Hugh Grant and all, but it’s actually a surprisingly entertaining and often even engrossing watch, complete with two very likable performances from Grant and Marisa Tomei, all making for a genuinely delightful watch that I really didn’t expect at first.
Let’s start off with what at first look to be the most generic and cheesy elements of the film. Hugh Grant, for all his worth, has proved rather frustrating to watch in his classic chick flicks, including Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill and the rest.
This film, on the other hand, sees him put in a far more interesting and grounded performance that, while still taking the role of the male lead, manages to both poke fun at his own history as well as bring some intriguing drama to his character, a trend that we’ve seen from Grant as he has got older, developing into a far more interesting screen persona than the generic dashing gentleman of the 1990s and early 2000s.
Alongside Grant is Marisa Tomei, who puts in as delightful a performance as you’d expect. Although her character’s story doesn’t have anything on the drama that Grant’s character holds, Tomei is endlessly wonderful throughout. Bright, energetic and smiley from beginning to end, it’s a simple yet effective performance that will easily put a smile on your face, and proves her once again as a very underrated yet incredibly likable actor.
Although the two are the romantic leads of the movie, they don’t share all that much screentime. When they do, they have strong chemistry, although it’s nothing particularly exceptional, just a good back and forth between the happiness of Tomei and more of the cynicism from Grant’s character.
As a result, the romantic element of this story is actually not the main focus, and it’s instead a surprisingly interesting watch as we look into the psyche of Hugh Grant’s character, a once great screenwriter now struggling for work, and trying to understand just what happened in his life to get to the point he is today.
It’s a story that works really well throughout, and makes for genuinely engrossing watching, with the romantic side of the story taking a backseat, but still providing some lightweight entertainment along the way.
In fact, that’s a balance that I wish we’d see more of – an easy-going romantic comedy with pleasant humour and a nice bit of cheesy romance that brings something else to the table, in the case of The Rewrite, an interesting character analysis that leads you into caring about the romance that eventually comes about.
Overall, I was really surprised by The Rewrite. It’s by no means a perfect film, but it’s one that will make you laugh and smile throughout, all the while proving a genuinely interesting comedy-drama that goes beyond the worst genre tropes and actually gives you some intrigue, furthered by two excellent performances throughout, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.