When I saw the trailer for the movie “Valentine’s Day” followed by its impressive cast list, I really wanted to see it. Then I read a couple of reviews by critics that absolutely hated the film, and it moved down on my list of movies that I was willing to invest significant time watching. I eventually put it in my “NetFlix” queue this fall, but kept moving it down as new releases I was waiting to see became available. It arrived in my mailbox before Christmas but it sat on my TV for over a week until I was ready to finally watch it. After that long of a wait, all I can say is that I absolutely loved it!
“Valentine’s Day” takes the viewer into the lives of dozens of people as they navigate the most sacred of days for lovers. There are grade school children, high school students, married people, couples who have just started dating, couples that have been living together, couples that have been married more than 50 years, single people who hate Valentine’s Day, people who are just meeting, as well as a couple of gay men. I thought the writers did a wonderful job of accurately portraying love as experienced by people in each of these groups. I think just about everyone could relate to at least one of the characters, and that is what made it successful.
The film contained a central theme that every couple has difficulties, but you work through them when you’re in love. Many of the successful couples gave advice to the new loves, but the phrase that echoed most was that when you love someone, you have to accept their faults as well as the things that are easy to love about them. Besides being full of sensible logic, there was also a “feel good” element that seemed to keep telling the viewers that love will conquer all in the end. It was also nice that every one of the little sub stories had a happy ending, even if they weren’t what you expected them to be.
Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner did a decent job as the leading characters, but their performances were a bit overpowered by the strength of all the supporting cast. Anne Hathaway had me laughing out loud with her numerous telephone conversations. Julia Roberts brought a tear to my eye with her final scene even though I had figured her character out and knew what was going to happen. Taylor Swift had me shaking my head as I remembered how silly and superficial, as well as dramatic and intense teenage love usually is. Her song “Today was a Fairytale” gave me goose bumps and continued playing in my head for days after hearing it during the closing credits.
“Valentine’s Day” was not the most thought provoking film I’ve seen lately, nor was it the funniest or the most dramatic, but it combined parts of all these elements into a film that was extremely enjoyable and entertaining!