Morning Glory

Before I even begin this review of Morning Glory, I think I’ll beat the rabbit out of the hole and let you know that I loved it. I’ve seen as many films as my pocket almost and begrudgingly permits over the last 12 months – more than 50, a little fewer than 60 – and very few of these have worked their magic so unexpectedly and so delightfully. Harrison Ford and Diane Keating are in Morning Glory and they can draw you in – I was expecting fine acting, but I wasn’t ready for these two stalwarts to conspire with an inspired and exuberant performance by Rachel McAdams to transform my mood entirely this evening and suck me into a wonder of a cinematic evening.

And so to that almost irrelevant little matter of the plot… Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is hired by Jerry Barnes (a worryingly sexy Jeff Goldblum) to transform his faltering breakfast TV show Daybreak, helmed by Colleen Peck (a fantastic Diane Keaton) and a sleezeball who has a thing about feet. The latter is replaced by Pulitzer winning Mike Pomeroy (Ford) who definitely thinks that he’s above breakfast TV, with its recipes and dogpetting stories, and probably is. Meanwhile, the thoroughly engaging and enticing Becky falls for a fellow producer Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson) in a way that, incredibly for a movie, doesn’t intrude on the story and simply adds to the development of the main character. Amazing!

For the first time in longer than it should be, I feel that I saw a film that actually includes me within its target audience. For once I am not excluded – I didn’t have to stick my foot in the door and pull it open to squeeze through and see yet another movie with comic book heroes or tales of men going through some rites of passage.

The strength of Morning Glory lies in its actors – Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum are fine actors. Give them some good material (as they get here from Aline Brosh McKenna – The Devil Wears Prada) and a director that can tell a tale that appeals to all age groups and any number of genders (Roger Michell – Notting Hill) and it’s hard to detect where they’ll go wrong. And yet, they are not the sole focus of attention.

They are bound together by the performance of Rachel McAdams, the young TV producer, who has not yet learned how to marry passion for her career with her life outside work hours. And yet that passion is what ultimately wins everyone over to her, whatever their role in the production of Daybreak and whatever the role they want to play in her life. Watching her run across fields in her short executive skirt and heels to win over Ford or try to stay up late (she has to get up at 1.30am) to keep aware of everything going on in the news, McAdams does a wonderful job of showing that a woman can be dedicated, sexy and flawed as she pursues her goal, just as any man can be.

I wasn’t alone in the cinema this evening in laughing and laughing out loud. That was plain to hear. The more emotional moments are harder to detect but I’m sure I wasn’t alone in pushing the heroine on to bring it all together.

I really do think I’ve seen a movie this evening aimed at me. A rarity and I’m going to treasure it. I may even see it again – and this time the hubby will go with me. Like it or not!

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