To be honest with you, nothing Steve Carell ever does is boring. Also, nothing he ever does is fancy. It is his uncanny ability to act-out awkward circumstances artfully and to bring to life the very same "regular" routines of our every day that makes him a "must-watch."
This movie, if you can go the mile and trust me, is no different. It starts with Dan (Steve Carell) - a father of three daughters - who, after losing his wife a couple of years ago, has become morose and lives in a sullen home comprising of what we may call a dysfunctional family. In spite of the gloom environs, he manages to keep himself happy through his writing. He writes a regular column in a newspaper that is seen to bring about a positive change in the lives of many a readers that go teary-eyed over his stand on principles of honesty, authenticity, and the age-old maxim of family comes first. While he finds joy through his writing, it is increasingly hard for him to get into the lives of his fast-growing daughters.
On the day of every year that they visit Dan's family at their house in a small country-place, which I know not where, the father and his daughters set out in the car towards the country-home. On reaching, everyone is delighted to meet them, but unknowingly set into motion a cloud of concern over Dan's reluctance to move on with his life and do something for himself. After a day or so, Dan's mother "orders" her son to "get lost" intending for him to go to the serene environs nearby to get some fresh air. He obeys, and visits a bookstore - Book and Tackle Shop - by the windy shores of a brook. He then finds a beautiful and vivacious (the vivacious bit was at the least what I definitely thought) woman - Marie (Juliette Binoche) - glancing around the bookshelves to find books that match her rapidly altering, diving and flying emotions. Mistaking Dan to be a salesman, she takes his help, and he kindly, and expertly, obliges with a whole set of books. She immediately finds out that he isn't a salesman, and calls him smooth. He replies with that joyful wit of his - I'm definitely not smooth. I'm Dan.
The meeting at the bookstore leads to a long and interesting, albeit intimate, conversation. They fall into a place where they are bound to each other.
Let me not indulge into any more scene-setting, and let you go ahead and watch the movie if you like what you hear.
I think the movie is humorous. It captures, so brightly, the essence of family. It stands for a love that doesn't depend on judging another carefully in order to make the right decision. It stands for the love that people dismiss so easily by calling it "infatuation." It outlines the feelings of a single-dad, contrary to the popular scheme of things where we are used to seeing single-moms going through hard and turbulent times to raise their children, going through the difficulty of raising his 3 daughters. And it really melts the heart to see them all come together in happiness towards the end.
A special mention - gorgeous soundtracks. You can listen to them over and over again.