British release poster
|Directed by||Marc Lawrence|
|Written by||Marc Lawrence|
|Music by||Clyde Lawrence|
|Edited by||Ken Eluto|
|Box office||$4.5 million|
The Rewrite is a 2014 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Marc Lawrence. It stars Hugh Grant as a washed-up screenwriter who begins teaching at a state university and Marisa Tomei as a single mother with whom the screenwriter finds romance. It began development at Castle Rock Entertainment in October 2012, and filming began in New York in April 2013.
Keith Michaels (Hugh Grant) is a divorced, washed-up screenwriter whose only successful work was Paradise Misplaced, which won the Best Screenplay Award fifteen years ago. Desperate and low on funds after a prolonged period of unsuccessful pitching, he reluctantly takes up a job teaching screenwriting at Binghamton University in upstate New York.
Things do not go well for Keith in the beginning; he unintentionally insults fellow professor Mary Weldon (Allison Janney) with his awkward sense of humor; he strikes up a brief relationship with student Karen Gabney (Bella Heathcote) which turns sour quickly. Keith also does not believe in the concept of teaching and is uninterested in his job, as exemplified by his selecting students for his class based on appearance and dismissing them for a month.
After being overtly contested by a resentful Karen about his competence, Keith starts to devote more time and effort to coaching his students and helping them discover their passion and improve their writing; he especially finds great potential in Clem Ronson (Steven Kaplan), a sickly and socially awkward nerd, whose script quickly garners the interest of Keith’s agent, Elle. Keith also forms a bond with mature student Holly Carpenter (Marisa Tomei), a single mother of two who is in a steady but dull relationship. The two of them often disagree on their perspectives on life, where Keith believes that nothing will salvage his stagnant career or mend his relationship with his estranged son Alex, whereas Holly maintains an optimistic outlook on life and believes that with effort, talents can be developed and problems can be solved. Despite their differences, Keith finds enlightenment in Holly’s advice and makes the first move in contacting Alex.
However, Keith’s situation worsens when his outline for Paradise Misplaced II gets rejected and he faces expulsion from the school after his short-lived relationship with Karen is exposed. In deep despair, Keith gets into an argument with Holly and decides to leave the school. As a last parting gesture, he accompanies Clem to Manhattan to meet with some Hollywood film producers. Halfway through the meeting, Keith realizes how he has impacted his students and, leaving a newly empowered Clem to resume the meeting by himself, he heads back to Binghamton to save his job — which he manages to do with a heartfelt conversation with Professor Weldon. In a revelation of his renewed perspective, Keith expresses admiration for Holly’s perseverance in life and confesses his love for her. He also declines Elle’s invitation to return to Hollywood, as he has decided to stay in Binghamton to teach and write a screenplay based on his experience there; and he tells Elle not to call during class hours.
Keith is welcomed back by his students and reconciles with Karen. The film ends with Keith’s phone flashing with a voicemail from Alex.
- Hugh Grant as Keith Michaels
- Marisa Tomei as Holly Carpenter
- Bella Heathcote as Karen Gabney
- Allison Janney as Mary Weldon
- J. K. Simmons as Dr. Lerner
- Chris Elliott as Jim
- Aja Naomi King as Rosa
- Karen Pittman as Naomi Watkins
- Steven Kaplan as Clem Ronson
- Annie Q as Sara Liu
The Rewrite is written and directed by Marc Lawrence. The project began development at Castle Rock Entertainment. In October 2012, actor Hugh Grant was cast in the film's starring role. His casting marked the fourth collaboration between Lawrence, Castle Rock, and Grant. Their previous films were Two Weeks Notice, Music and Lyrics, and Did You Hear About the Morgans?
""I love Marc's stuff, and ['The Rewrite'] made me laugh," he said. "[I wasn't interested] in the sort of marketed, Hallmark, 'Valentine's Day' sense — I find that repugnant. Here, the romantic comedy part of it is only a small part; it's about this broken guy who mends himself."
In November 2012, actor Marisa Tomei entered negotiations to star opposite Grant. In the following March, Bella Heathcote joined the cast. Variety reported, "This film would give Heathcote some lighter material after breaking out in serious projects," referring to In Time and Not Fade Away. Later in the month, Allison Janney, J. K. Simmons, and Chris Elliott joined the cast.
Filming began in New York in April 2013.
FilmNation Entertainment handled sales of The Rewrite's distribution in territories outside the United States. The film premiered at a gala screening at the Shanghai International Film Festival on June 15, 2014. Distributor Lionsgate scheduled the film to be released in theaters in the United Kingdom on October 8, 2014.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 64%, based on 58 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Rewrite's unremarkable plot is enlivened considerably by its likable cast, adding up to a comedy that coasts capably on the charms of Hugh Grant and his co-stars." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score 51 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The Hollywood Reporter's Elizabeth Kerr said The Rewrite was not groundbreaking as a romantic comedy but that "it is a pleasant diversion for fans of the form". Kerr considered the film an improvement from Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009) and said while it was initially similar to Liberal Arts (2012) with "its aggressive academic and literary tone", it fell back on romantic comedy conventions. She found that Grant "embraces his maturity" as an older version of his typical character but that Tomei's character was "painfully underwritten". Kerr said the supporting characters would have been forgettable if the actors were not so strong.
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- "The Rewrite (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
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- Kerr, Elizabeth (June 18, 2014). "'The Rewrite': Shanghai Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 19, 2014.