The Proposal – 8:15pm, BBC3
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is a big-shot editor at a New York publishing company who, in order to avoid deportation to her native Canada, pressures her assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) into marrying her. Desperate to keep his job, Andrew grudgingly accepts. The hitch comes when the US government starts to nose around, forcing the two to cement the lie by spending the weekend in Alaska with Paxton’s family. A gentle, predictable plot is fleshed out well with strong performances from Bullock and Reynolds, who share real chemistry and comic timing. And Betty White (TV’s Golden Girls) shines as the matriarch who thinks marriage is just peachy. Nicely directed by Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses), with some snappy banter from scriptwriter Peter Ciarelli, the movie sometimes comes close to the screwball romantic comedies of old.
One Day – 9pm, Film4
One Day spans two decades in the life of friends Emma and Dexter, played by Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, and muses on the possibility of something more than friendship existing between them. David Nicholls adapts the script from his bestselling novel, but he finds less time for the nostalgia and modern angst that gave the book its epic sweep. Instead, this works as an impressionistic romance yarn, with director Lone Scherfig (An Education) breezily grabbing moments between university graduation in 1988 and one fateful day in 2011 to stir up the frustration of missed opportunities. Hathaway and Sturgess make great company, with plenty of witty banter to counter the brooding. Sturgess does especially well to remain sympathetic even as Dexter wilfully plays the bad boy. His evolution into someone deserving of Emma – all sweetness and light – is what finally lends the film some weight, though it doesn’t hit as hard as Nicholls’s original telling.
Born on the Fourth of July – 10:30pm, ITV4
Director Oliver Stone continued his Vietnam trilogy with this biographical drama, a masterpiece of film-making that occupies a much broader canvas than its predecessor,Platoon. It stars Tom Cruise as Ron Kovic, the all-American boy who enlists in the marines because he loves his country. The Stars and Stripes flies proudly in his home town. Then he is hideously wounded, endures the rat-infested hell of a veterans’ hospital and comes home to find the Stars and Stripes being burned in the streets. He drops out and goes to Mexico, then returns to America to conduct an anti-war campaign from his wheelchair. The story is based on the autobiography of Kovic and Stone himself did two tours of duty in Vietnam, and the movie fairly reeks of their experience and regret. Stone had won the best director Oscar for Platoon and he received the statuette again for his powerful work here. Sadly, Cruise had to settle for a nomination, but his transformation from golden boy to ravaged and embittered paraplegic is utterly convincing.
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