Movie Monday: American Dreamer

By Alexandria Harris

So far we’ve done a period movie about a playwright and an autobiographical movie about a novelist. This week I was feeling a little restless and the title seemed fitting because we’ve just ended the Olympics in London. Be prepared for some twists and turns in this week’s movie.

Premise: a woman is trying to win a writing contest. The prize–a week in Paris for two. Sounds like a dream right? However, she may get much more than she bargained for.

“I don’t know what’s real anymore. I don’t even know if you’re real.” Alan/Dimitri

“I should’ve taken her to a hospital but why is she starting to make sense?” Alan/Dimitri

It starts out with a bang, almost literally. A man dressed as a woman and a woman dressed head to toe in furs pursues him and cuffs him with a gun. Of course then the audience finds that this is all a part of the writer’s book.

Cathy is a very likeable main character. She’s really invested in her craft, a mother of two fun loving boys who encourage and support her writing. However, she’s cursed with a dull husband, Kevin, who only has eyes for his work and sounds completely disinterested in everything. His motto is “let’s think on it.”

Cathy wins the contest, the reaction to which is worth watching the movie alone (the silent “I won, I won” is endearing and precious). But big surprise here, Kevin doesn’t want to go because of his job and then has the audacity not to want her to go to Paris alone. And all this arguing is done while sweat covered Kevin exercises on a flimsy stationary bike that clearly isn’t helping him.

Cathy basically tells her sexist husband to kick rocks and makes future generations of women everywhere happy when she packs her bags and goes to Paris.

The audience goes on a tour of all the sights of Paris you typically see in a movie involving Paris but in the middle of all the excitement, a biker swipes her camera and Cathy, desperate to preserve all her rose tinged memories, runs after him and gets hit by a car.

She wakes up as Rebecca Ryan, a character from the books the contest is named for, and this is when the action gets kicked into overdrive.

Picture a sophisticated Bonnie with amnesia and without Clyde. It’s the most hilarious case of the author stepping into the shoes of a character instead of a character being formed by bits of the author. A who-dun-it adrenaline rush that keeps the energy and laughs soaring.

What struck me most about this movie is that was the story of a dreamer, a talented woman who didn’t give up and in the end didn’t settle for half-living her life. She went from pleasing other people to pleasing herself and even though the journey to that wasn’t conventional, it made it was done creatively and with a refreshing twist.

I would give this an 8/10. It was hilarious, had its sweet moments, really pushed the envelope between fantasy and reality, and immersed its audience into the world of a book. The only reason I gave it an 8 is because I don’t really agree with the ending, but it ended well enough and nothing is perfect.

Alexandria Harris is a writer and recent college graduate. When she isn’t writing, watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on repeat, or working in her father’s company, she tweets regularly on her account @_ALHarris. Alexandria lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin