"You are a murderer of love!" This is a simple story that comes at you from a lot of angles which is uncoincidentally... real life. I felt so connected with Dan's frustrations. Such an easy movie to watch over and over again.
Dan in Real Life follows Dan Burns, an advice columnist who is also a widower in his own real life, and he gets himself into a very real dilemma.
Steve Carell puts in another winning performance playing a not so comedic man that we are used to seeing as Dan, who is raising his three daughters after his wife has died.
He is going with his daughters for an annual get together with his family at his mum and dads house. After growing apart from his daughters for various reasons, mainly playing the typical dad, he goes alone one morning for newspapers but we find him in a library, where in walks Marie (Juliette Binoche), a beautiful woman who Dan ends up spending the day with and getting to know each other very well, until Marie reveals that she is in a relationship, much to Dan's disappointment.
He returns home to tell his family about this mysterious girl, only to find out that the man she is dating is none other than his brother, Mitch (Dane Cook).
As the tensions starts to build with the two estranged lovers, various situations arise that are quite hard for Dan to bear, but this is all in all a very heartfelt and humorous film that doesn't disappoint.
The story is very much about Dan and his troubles with being a single dad, contrary to certain critic reviews, this is very much done on purpose, to show the difficulties but possibly selfish remedies that Dan or many others in his position may do to solve what they perceive to be a difficult situation.
The wider cast includes Alison Pill, John Mahoney and Dianne Wiest. This cast brings a sense of family security to the film, always being there for someone to rely on or for a shoulder to cry on, the closeness and chemistry shines through in a particular scene when Dan's mum and dad are trying to talk candidly with him when everyone invades which sets up quite a funny few minutes.
Steve Carell proves that he can have a very different and very powerful presence on screen aside from comedy as he did in Little Miss Sunshine, his delivery is superb and definitely the standout of the film.
Perhaps a little slow at only small points, this does add up to a very real, clean but dramatic film that is enjoyable for all ages, dealing with the difficulties of parenthood and family alike.
Despite numerous emotions thrown together all at once, Dan in Real Life is a curious look at life and family. Steve Carell proves to be much more than a simple television actor and surely much more than Michael Scott.
Despite it's good intentions, Dan in Real Life is not the family friendly romantic movie it so desperately wants to be. The story was interesting but the very cliché, predictable and utterly despicable ending made the rest of the movie not worth watching. The movie isn't without it's merits though, as it had it's funny moments, the acting was good and it was quite entertaining. It's not a bad film, but it's certainly doesn't deserve all the praise it gets.