Daughter, Maya, has just had her first day of sex education at school. Full of questions, she cajoules her father, Will Hayes, into recounting how he came to meet and marry her mother. Will has three likely woman in his past, all of them beautiful but each with their own distinctive charm and personality. He changes the names of the women during the retelling, which keeps Maya guessing as to who is her mother, right until the end. This also keeps the audience guessing. Unlike many movies, Definitely, Maybe starts a little weakly but improves as it goes on and provides a satisfying ending.
The film is set in the present day but as it’s told in flashback, the majority of the movie is set in New York during the early nineties. The period is defined as being pre to early internet days. I loved the scene where a cafe owner is hoisting a big sign in his window, declaring ‘Internet coming soon’ and the scene where Will, a political campaigner is trying to download a guest list for an important political dinner using a dial-up modem. The sound of two modems performing their audible handshaking ritual sends a shiver down my spine and makes me thankful for ADSL broadband.
Some may find the interruptions of the daughter during the movie a little annoying. Again I think that as the film progresses, she becomes more likeable and turns out to be more than just a plot device. I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for this technique as my favourite movie of all time (The Princess Bride) does the same. Abigail Breslin’s performance as the daughter is convincing and I’m afraid it won’t be too long until my own daughter starts to ask the same sort of questions.
One of the central elements in the movie is a copy of ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Brontë. It has special significance for one of the women, although to avoid a possible spoiler I won’t elaborate further. Jane Eyre is out of copyright and available for free download from Project Gutenburg here, so I’m going to download it and convert it to speech with Text2Go so that I can listen to during my daily commute. I just hope writer/director Adam Brooks’ taste in English literature is as good as his movies.
Update – Where can you get those wireless earbuds that Will uses in the opening scene?
You can’t. They’re not for sale yet. Why do I know this. Because if they were available they’d come up in the top position for the Google search ‘Definitely Maybe wireless earbuds’ and there would be about 10 Adwords ads for ‘Definitely Maybe wireless earbuds’ in the right hand column.
There are a couple of really clunky looking products available now but they are not the ones featured in the movie. All I can hope is that someone’s doing some prelaunch marketing and they will be available soon. It would be nice to say goodbye to tangled earbud chords!