Hollywood has had a long love affair with stories about itself. Many movies and television shows have discussed the turmoils of crafting for the silver screen. Despite this long history, there will continue to be new pieces, giving another viewpoint into the creative process, as it is both an individual and shared experience. In Marc Lawrence’s THE REWRITE, we view this process from the point of view of the writer.
Rebirth of one’s spirit comes in many forms. Once we find a muse, that catalyst to get us moving forward, we either chase it down until we’ve conquered our goal, or we burnt out in the process. There is also sadly that third option of just not chasing it for fear of failure. Something that has plagued me for ages. What I’ve been finding lately however from many successful writers isn’t the failure that defeats us in the end, but not taking that first step that does it. First drafts are expected to fail. That’s why they aren’t known as final drafts. A rewrite can be a wonderful thing that can transform a flawed story into a beautiful one that can stand the test of time.
Hugh Grant plays Keith Grant, an award winning screenwriter past his prime. He’s had one major hit, followed by 2 critical and box office flops, a failed marriage, and a string of random and booze fueled hook-ups. After failing to get another project off the ground, his agent gets him a gig teaching screenwriting at a college in Binghamton, New York. Home of Rod Serling, the creator of the Twilight Zone, as well as a place that’s mostly cloudy and rainy, Binghamton is the exact opposite of the Hollywood lifestyle that Keith is used to, and exactly what he probably needed.
Given the typical tropes of comedies where the protagonist is a has-been trying to make good again, it is predictable where the story of THE REWRITE will go. But, with the cleverness of the writing, and the innate talent of the cast, it is presented in a fashion that is both charming, witty, as well as heart warming. Hitting all the beats, such as Keith being a drunk that sleeps with a student half his age, immediately insults the one colleague he shouldn’t have, and having that one lonely person that works with him that is odd yet still works out as a friend. While most of these things could be extremely annoying if handled poorly, but in the hands of Lawrence and the cast including Marisa Tomei, Allison Janney, JK Simmons, and Chris Elliot, it is molded into a really enjoyable picture.
Whether you are interested in getting into the world of movie making, or can just appreciate the telling of a good story, I recommend checking out THE REWRITE as it does a great job of telling a tale about self discovery and chasing that muse in unlikely places.
THE REWRITE is currently available on Blu-Ray and DVD from RLJE/Image Entertainment.