Starring: Martin Freeman, Morena Baccarin, Jake Lacy
Director: Jason Winer
Running Time: 97 mins
Ode To Joy is an American film about a man who suffers from an unusual medical condition where, upon experiencing strong feelings of joy, he blacks out. However, when a woman comes along that changes his life, he begins to see that a life full of joy isn’t something to be afraid of.
I really enjoyed this movie. Funny, heartfelt and a little bit zany, Ode To Joy is a heap of fun, complete with a trio of absolutely wonderful lead performances that turn a fairly run-of-the-mill romantic comedy into a thoroughly entertaining watch throughout.
Straddling the boundary between an overly quirky and reticent brand of comedy and something a little more mainstream, Ode To Joy strikes a fantastic balance between zany, often weird fun and classic romantic comedy tropes, so familiar that they’re always a joy to see if pulled off right.
And it’s fair to say that Ode To Joy absolutely pulls it off from start to finish here. Martin Freeman plays a lovably flawed male lead alongside Morena Baccarin’s effortlessly charming and charismatic love interest, and the pair are the perfect duo for you to will on through all of the ups and downs of a romantic comedy, with a special, thoroughly likable bond from the moment they first meet.
Alongside Freeman and Baccarin, Jake Lacy plays a much bigger role than the normal third wheel in the story, acting both as the shoulder for Freeman to cry on and an antagonist for his romantic ambitions, bringing about some clever complications that only add to the captivating emotional streak to this story.
But while the romance is absolutely delightful throughout, where Ode To Joy really wins is in its blend of heartfelt and zany storytelling surrounding Martin Freeman’s character’s bizarre condition – fainting when he gets too happy. It’s a weird paradox that does indeed leave you on edge throughout, but it also serves as an entertaining and sturdy obstacle for his character to overcome, and for you to support him in breaking past.
Conjuring up all the opportunity for slapstick and some rather more thoughtful moments about the way the affliction impacts every part of his life, it’s a great central premise that really helps Ode To Joy to success, delivering all the delightfully familiar tropes of a romantic comedy with charisma, humour and depth throughout. So, that’s why I’m giving Ode To Joy a 7.9 overall.