Much to my surprise, this film was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting. In fact, it was 80% watchable, which is pretty high on the Cathy scale of movie watchability (I don't get past the first 15 minutes on about half of the movies I try to watch).
That said, the other 20% of the film was really cheesy and had a climax so weak it just about negated the good parts.
The main premise is that the protagonist, Amanda, has PTSD due to an incident in her childhood. When her grandmother dies, and Amanda goes back to her childhood home for the funeral, all those memories are dredged up, along with a new set of baggage she brings along with her from her current life.
The 80% that's enjoyable is made up of the unfolding character backstories, and the gorgeous scenery. The best part is that the film passes the Bechdel test, with five strong female characters, all well acted, even when the plot gets silly. I really liked all the women a lot. I just wish they'd been given a meatier central conundrum to resolve -- the Mother in particular really deserved a better motivation for her actions, given that she was the fulcrum for the whole plot (such as it is). She was so well-played, though, especially as the actress had nothing much to work with.
The 20% that's terrible boils down to three main problems with the plot: 1) the A-plot about Amanda's PTSD is hand-waved away as a misunderstanding, which totally negates the entire character journey she's been on. 2) the B-plot suffers a similar fate, with a rather horrifying attempted rape being used for cheap angst, with nary a consequence in sight. 3) As a result of these two cop-outs, the ending comes across as too happily-ever-after; it's twee and horribly unconvincing.
It's the usual thing, in other words: a satisfying plot climax is sacrificed for a happy ending. Gah! It's such a waste. Why don't more screenwriters read Robert McKee's Story? It's a basic of good plotting: always use your B-plot to ironically counterpoint your A-plot. So even with the PTSD plot being unconvincingly resolved, if the ending had just been bittersweet, with either the A or B plot not being so neatly wrapped up, the film would have made it into the re-watching category.
Although... now I think about it, if you just stop watching once all the boyfriends have left the island, about ten minutes from the end, it'd probably be a much better film.
In summary: Worth a look if you're a Collins fan, or desperate for a Bechdel-test-passing film, but too flawed to be more than a single-watch movie.
For those of you interested: Misha Collins is good, in a very Heathcliffish sort of way, which isn't even that annoying due to the Bechdel pass. He has a rakish scar, too. :)
This entry was originally posted at http://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/359804.html.