I almost missed “Dan in Real Life“. I wasn’t even planning to see it, since the poster is does not appeal to me and I’m not a big fan of Steve Carell. I mean, he is OK, but he’s not someone who attracts me to the movie. But anyway. I ended up alone in the cinema. And I’m glad I did.
This is a strong 8 out of 10. There is no point at telling the story or bringing up any scenes from the film – most of them are rather traditional and have been seen before. The movie follows the stereotypical love story with all elements such as close family involvement, road trip, hurting someone’s feelings, kids, rain, “go get her”, etc. All these were present here too, and, I should say, there were very well done.
But the strength of the film is not in the love story. It’s in other things. For me personally, it was very refreshing to see a healthy family. And a big one a that. This whole film was around a well managed and developed family – something they don’t show very often in the movies. This film shows how parents can spend time with their children, how siblings can be good and supportive friends, how important are good family values and how they are passed along and cultivated. This part of the film was so good that I almost could not believe my eyes. That alone is worth the time.
And that wasn’t the only good part. Somehow, the film is very romantic and sentimental. Sometimes it’s said, sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s very social, and sometimes it’s very private. And it “feels” very good too. There is an almost natural balance of moods and transitions. It’s not boring, and it’s not trying to squeeze any tears out of you, while, at the same time, it’s not trying to make you laugh so hard you fell from your chair. It asks its share of questions, tries to provide some answers, and leaves a lot to think about, while still entertaining.
With all that, I am a little glad that it didn’t have a strong overwhelming story to tell. It already offered enough, and with a good story it would be pushing its luck. (However there are movies that do both).
Also, there is plenty of good acting in this film. It’s not brilliant or anything, but it is very believable and human. There were some familiar faces cast for this movie, and those that aren’t so familiar, did equally good.
Overall : strongly recommended.