By: Lauren Higginbotham
Leap Year is a 2010 film, starring Amy Adams as Anna Brady, and Matthew Goode as Declan O’Callaghan. Frustrated with her long time boyfriend’s lack of a marriage proposal, Anna decides to travel to Dublin and propose to him on leap day, while he is there at a conference. She hits a few bumps in the road on her way to Dublin, and ultimately finds a travel partner in a surly Irish innkeeper, named Declan. By the end of the film, Anna comes to realize Declan is the person she wishes to spend the rest of her life with, as opposed to her long time boyfriend, and the two are married in Cork.
Aside from the cheesy love story and abundance of clichés used throughout the film, the underlying plot centers around an old Irish legend, which allows women to propose to men on leap day. Supposedly, the tradition began when St. Brigid struck a deal with St. Patrick, in order to balance the traditional roles of men and women, similar to how leap day balances the calendar. Despite the folklore’s romantic undertone, according to The Huffington Post’s Stephanie Hallet, “The roots of the Irish tradition are dubious…St. Brigid was just 9 or 10 years old when St. Patrick died in 461 A.D…making the pair’s friendship unlikely.”
Regardless of the story’s validity, Americans such as myself, view the film as simply a romantic comedy, capitalizing on the differences between Americans and the Irish. Throughout the film, Anna continuously comments on Declan’s strong Irish brogue, the relaxed attitudes of those she meets, and the importance placed on a true Catholic marriage. In turn, Declan is caught off guard by the value Anna places on material objects, her seemingly conceited personality, and low tolerance to alcohol. On each side of the spectrum, the film focuses on stereotypes typical to each nationality, yet considering the majority of the film occurs in Ireland, it is plausible the Irish may reject the movie for its subpar portrayal of Irish life. As a whole, the film did not receive rave reviews in the United States, yet Roger Ebert counters this negativity by saying, “When was the last time you saw a boring Irishman in a movie?”
Hallett, Stephanie. “Leap Year Proposal: What’s The Story Behind It?” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 27 Feb. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.