To tell the truth, I am not really a big fan of ensemble movies, as I find them less focused and most of the time quite messy. Moreover, each character does not have enough time to develop, and becomes forgettable. Fortunately, New Year’s Eve was an exception. It was a good movie that was specially made for the festive season, and may be shown again and again, just like Love Actually, another feel good ensemble movie.
The movie centers around a few stories, which intertwined with each other in a natural way. Each character had around ten minutes of screen time only, but with an intelligently constructed plot, that was just enough for them to make their marks. They all had their own bright spots and shining moments. Besides, the stories all converged at the sacred moment of new year, giving the movie a strong structure that prevented it from falling apart.
The first story is about a pathetic woman who has had enough of bad things to bear in the whole year, and finally decided to free herself in hope of a better year ahead. She was brilliantly portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, and gosh, she did not disappoint. We could really feel, and share with her, her anger with the unfair treatment of her horrible boss, and her frustration about her failed year, as well as her pathetic attempt to make up for the lost time during the last day of the year. We also felt her happiness when her resolutions were fulfilled one by one, thanks to the help of the cunning delivery boy.
Personally, I do not like Zac Enfron, but I have to admit that he was doing quite well in this movie. He played a cunning and smart delivery man, who warmed the heart of an unfortunate woman and made her believe in the future again. He was quite charming, and lovable, and his smart way of overcoming the odds, and cheating to complete her resolutions managed to make us laugh, and cry. Another thing he proved is that, with creativity and a sense of humor, sometimes it does not require a lot of money to create a romantic and great experience ;)
Another story revolved around an overprotective mother and a rebellious daughter. While the mother is lonely, scared of the world outside and its potential harm, and just wants to hide in the safety of her house, the teenage daughter is full of romance, in love with a boy, and wants to spend the sacred moment with her love interest, to make it special and unforgettable. Of course, there were conflicts, and tense moments, but then it all turned out nice, and it was proof once again that there was not bigger love than a mother’s for her child. It was heart warming and nicely fitted the festive season spirit.
The only let down is that the grown up Abigail is much as cute than the child Abigail that we used to adore.
Another story is about the budding love between a stranded backup singer and a failed artist who hated New Year as he found nothing to rejoice about. It was not central to the story, but added some romance to it, and showed that love could blossom in the least fertile land, such as a stuck lift, and if you open your heart, great things will come that you never expected.
I don’t know whether this was one of the reason why Ashton and Demi divorced, but I hoped not. But I will not be surprised if Ashton and Lea become a real couple. They had the chemistry, and matching look. As for Lea, not bad for a debut, and who knows, her rendition of Aud. Lang Shine will become a favorite song for the new year.
The most touching story is the one about an old man who is reaching the end of his journey. He had a long one, full of successes, but also with regrets, and at his final hours, just wished to see the ball drop in Times Square again. He did, and he even had something he dare not think about. This is a truly emotional story, and it took the incredible talent of the legendary Robert De Niro to shine with those few dialogues and short screen time, but he did it, moved our hearts and got our tears.
Halle Berry played a small role of a nurse whose husband was fighting in Iraq, and I really don’t think it required a star of such calibre to fill that role. Besides, she looked quite old, haggard and thin compared to her last role that I could remember.
Another main story is about the love between a chef and a rocker. It was love found, and lost, and found again, and the moral behind is that, for a relationship, love is a must, but not everything. It takes more than love to maintain a relationship. It needs efforts from both side, sacrifices and forgiveness, and lots of time and attention. Finally, it takes courage, to start it and to continue walking down their chosen path. Without that, the romance will fade, and the relationship will wither away.
There are a few more side stories, which all contributed to delivering the message that new year is perfect time to start something new, and with a little more love for others, the world will become a better place for all of us.
After watching this movie, I really wish one day I can see the ball drop in Times Square in person. This type of movie is great for the occasion as it gives us hope of better things to come our way.
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