Dan in Real life movie cast: Steve Carell, Dane Cook, Juliette Binoche, Emily Blunt
Dan in Real life movie director: Peter Hedges
Dan in Real life movie rating: 3.5 stars
There is something wonderful about Steve Carell. He invokes a sense of warmth and comfort; whatever be the role. This statement of course doesn’t intend to discredit Steve’s talent as an actor, but instead speaks volumes of the man he seems to be. And it is that unassuming, gentle and slightly befuddled by his circumstances aspect of his character that 2007’s Peter Hedges directorial Dan in Real Life brings to life.
A widower and a columnist, Steve’s Dan is struggling to raise his three daughters all on his own. He has not ventured into any romantic relationship and if he has, he has not found any remarkable success. But one fine day, everything changes when Dan bumps into the witty and pretty Marie (Juliette Binoche).
Billed as a romantic dramedy, Dan in Real Life is about human relationships and the obstacles and hard work we put in to maintain them. The movie through Dan’s brother Mitch’s (Dane Cook) carefree bachelor ways and Dan’s daughter Cara’s (Britt Robertson) lovesick behaviour attempts to showcase how differently people adapt to seemingly romantic situations.
A moment that is particularly brilliant in the film is how Cara, after being made to part ways with her much older boyfriend Marty, reacts. She throws about her hand, has tears in her innocent wide eyes and blames and yells at her well-meaning father for driving a wedge in the path of her love. Dan’s reaction to Cara’s emotional outburst is at once hilarious and touching.
“I love him, I love him, I love him,” Cara tells her father, first in soft overtones and then emphatically. “No, you don’t. Infatuation is not love,” Dan explains firmly. It’s a sequence that shows the audience where Dan stands as a parent, and how and when we fail as guardians and as people. Love — a universal emotion — is perceived differently by everyone.
Hollywood Rewind: Jurassic Park | Tangled | Meet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles
There is not much to say of the narrative here. But the thing to be noted is that the predictable storyline is elevated by performances of the cast, mainly that of Steve Carell’s. The supporting characters are credible enough and do what is required of them well.
Run-of-the-mill romantic comedies can often be monotonous, dry and loud. However, Steve Carell starrer Dan in Real Life is none of those things.