Not Another Happy Ending

Not Another Happy Ending


Reviewed by: Robert Munro

Not Another Happy Ending closes this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, and if there is one positive thing that can be said about the film it is that it lives up to the promise of its title.

The film takes place in some alternate vision of Glasgow, in which hipsters mope about quite lovely-looking flats dressed like a clown impersonating Charlie Chaplin, listening to Nick Drake on vinyl, typing thoughtfully on their macbooks and generally being all tortured and alternative.

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Foremost amongst the hipsters is Jane Lockhart (Karen Gillan) whose novel The Anguish Of My Father is eventually picked up after a series of rejections by a quirky independent publishing company owned by a quirky independent well-groomed - also stupidly dressed - Frenchman.

The Frenchman is Tom Duval (Stanley Weber) and the obvious attraction between apparently tortured writer and shouty, gallic publisher is cemented around 10 minutes into the film in a montage which shows how quirky they are. He jumps on top of a bin, she hides behind a pillar. Man, are they quirky.

When Tom changes the name of her novel to Happy Ending upon publication, Jane throws a strop and they fall out. She falls into the arms of sleazy screenwriter Willie (Henry Ian Crusick) and all goes swimmingly until it’s time to finish the second book of her contract with Tom’s publishing company and she is struck down by writer’s block.

This is a film so crushingly unfunny, so devoid of any understanding of the human race and so mind-numbingly boring it can only have been designed by committee. With a swedge of money in its back pocket from Creative Scotland, the film is no doubt intended to be a positive, outward-looking representation of Glasgow and perhaps its attempts to move away from the often grim, post-industrial Clydesideism of many portrayals of the city is a reasonable intention.

However, if Not Another Happy Ending is an attempt to shed the regressive representational tendencies of Scottish cinema it not only fails spectacularly but makes you long for the magical world of Brigadoon, so ill-judged is the film’s attempt at comedy or romance or basic human nature.

The film is fleetingly bearable when Iain De Caestecker is onscreen, playing Tom’s partner in the publishing firm Roddy, who at least displays a sense of comic timing, even though for the most part in delivering humourless lines. A lonely, frustrated teacher of high-school English, Roddy provides the one moment in the film in which the corners of the mouth do twitch in what could be said to resemble a smile, cracking a joke about a model of a bus in Glasgow’s transport museum.

All in all a deeply depressing film, one which not only says nothing interesting about Scotland or Glasgow, but says nothing interesting at all and wastes the prodigious acting talents of Kate Dickie and Gary Lewis in paper-thin roles. If this is the best we have to offer to the world, shame on us.

Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2013
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A publisher tries to improve an author's creativity by making her life less happy.
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Director: John McKay

Writer: David Solomons

Starring: Karen Gillan, Stanley Weber, Amy Manson, Iain De Caestecker, Kate Dickie, Freya Mavor, Gary Lewis, Henry Ian Cusick

Year: 2013

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted


EIFF 2013

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