Not Another Happy Ending

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Not Another Happy Ending
Not Another Happy Ending Poster.jpg
UK release poster
Directed byJohn McKay
Written byDavid Solomons
Produced byClaire Mundell
Wendy Griffin
StarringKaren Gillan
Stanley Weber
Iain De Caestecker
Freya Mavor
Amy Manson
Gary Lewis
Kate Dickie
Henry Ian Cusick
CinematographyGeorge Geddes
Edited byCalum Puss
Music byLorne Balfe
Synchronicity Films Ltd.
British Film Company
Distributed byKaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Release dates
  • 30 June 2013 (2013-06-30) (Edinburgh Film Festival)
  • 11 October 2013 (2013-10-11) (United Kingdom)
  • 8 August 2014 (2014-08-08) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom

Not Another Happy Ending is a 2013 British romantic comedy film directed by John McKay, starring Karen Gillan, Stanley Weber and Freya Mavor. Produced by Claire Mundell and Wendy Griffin, and written by David Solomons, the film premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on 30 June 2013.[2]

It was largely shot in Glasgow's Merchant City.[3]


Scottish writer, Jane Lockhart, has received multiple rejection letters before Tom Duvall, the Franco-Scottish editor of a struggling publishing company, tells her he will publish her first novel. Overcome with happy surprise, she breaks out in tears.

As they go through the editing process they have a natural, positive rapport, in sharp contrast to his notorious, harsh demeanor most writers encounter. Jane is generally perky and upbeat, but she impulsively tells him she won't work with him after she completes her contract (another book) as he changed the title without her consent.

Jane's book is the first truly successful book Tom's published. From her first book signings, it's apparent it is a great success, and she wins an award for best new writer.

Willie Scott, the screenwriter who presented her with the award, flirts with her on stage and they end up becoming a couple. Thirty-six chapters later, Jane calls Tom to announce she's one chapter short of finishing, and he reminds her their connection will be severed once it's done.

Suddenly, Jane is left unable to write and Tom is concerned. When he calls, he realises she's baking, something she does when she's blocked. Her protagonist Darsie (a figment of her imagination) begins popping up at awkward moments.

Partly from his roommate's theory as a high school English teacher: 'no misery, no poetry,' Tom is convinced Jane's writer's block is from being excessively happy. He feels he must make her incredibly unhappy to unblock her. However, the worse he makes her feel, the more he realizes he's in love with her. He goes to her place to demand to see the first draft. Tricking her into getting some of the pages, he holes himself into a room to read.

He emerges and, after praising what he's seen, they easily slip into their almost flirtatious banter and interaction as they edit. A call from Willie, professing his love and proposing, prevents them from kissing.

Once Willie returns home, he slips into his old routine, taking Jane for granted. He finishes the screenplay for her book, but changes the ending, making it a happy one. Tom tries to suggest to him to fix the ending. He refuses and, once Jane sees it, she kicks him out. Her writer's block is over, she promptly goes off to the countryside to be alone after leaving the last pages at Tom's.

Tom follows her, with an apology and a suggestion to rewrite the ending. She makes him stay out in the cold until nightfall, but ultimately lets him in. After she blows up at him, they finally kiss, another inspirational wave hits her. As they finally fall into each other's arms, his heart seems to stop.

The closing scene is in a cemetery, Jane is saying a few words over a casket. Suddenly it is announced by Tom that she will be signing copies of her new book, which they take from the casket. Taking her aside, he offers a new book contact, and they kiss.



The film was financed in part by a crowdfunding campaign on the website Indiegogo, which raised US$22,660.[4] Additional funding came through the efforts of producer Claire Mundell, who "[patch-worked] a bunch of different sources of funding together, none of whom interfered in any kind of way with the way the film turned out".[5]

Scottish actor Emun Elliott was originally attached to play the role of Tom, but was replaced with French actor Stanley Weber. This led the filmmakers to write into the script the character's French background, as well as "a lot of explanation about how this French guy could end up in Glasgow and be a publisher".[5]


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 31% based on 16 reviews, with an average rating of 3.86/10.[6]

Reviewing it in The Times, Wendy Ide described the film as being "so cloyingly perky and twee, you want to feed the whole film, bestselling novels and all, into a shredder."[7] Writing in The Guardian, Mike McCahill gave the film 1 star out of 5, calling it "lamentably close to the modern romcom average".[8] In The Daily Telegraph, David Gritten was similarly unimpressed, criticising both the screenplay and Gillan's acting, concluding that "The film's ending was indeed a happy moment, but not in the intended manner."[9] Time Out gave the film 1 star out of 5, calling it "a great advert for Glasgow, but it delivers an awful warning to filmmakers about shooting a script that's seriously unready for public consumption."[10]


  1. ^ "NOT ANOTHER HAPPY ENDING (12A)". Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment. British Board of Film Classification. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Karen Gillan Rom-Com Will Close Edinburgh Film Festival". 24 April 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  3. ^ "John McKay Talks Not Another Happy Ending". 18 June 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Not Another Happy Ending". Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  5. ^ a b "John McKay on Not Another Happy Ending and Scottish filmmaking". 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Not Another Happy Ending (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  7. ^ Ide, Wendy. "Not Another Happy Ending".
  8. ^ "Not Another Happy Ending – review". 10 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Not Another Happy Ending, review".
  10. ^ "Not Another Happy Ending".

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