Leap Year (2011)
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Critic Reviews for Leap Year
Nothing about Leap Year plays out exactly like you expect, and Rowe prefers to send you home with enigmatic questions instead of clear-cut answers.
"Leap Year" might be too much for some audiences, but it is a potent and surprising work.
It's a gripping, mysterious use of no-budget cinema at its finest, and an intimate character study with surprising emotional power.
To Rowe's credit, this isn't just a movie about sex. It's a compassionate study of human loneliness.
Shocks only with its candor and complete lack of dramatic manipulation.
Audience Reviews for Leap Year
Año Bisiesto (Leap Year) (Michael Rowe, 2010) I am willing to admit right up front that some of my problems with this movie come from the fact that I'm really, really uncomfortable with some of the material presented here. When the Netflix description said main character Laura (Babel's Monica del Carmen) gets involved in a sadomasochistic relationship, I figured that was probably the Netflix blurbers' much-storied hyperbole kicking into action, and halfway through the movie, when we get to the kind of butt-smacking that causes women in porn films to exclaim "oh, YEAH!" in THAT voice, I figured my preconceptions were going to be borne out. But oh, how wrong I was, and like I said, I will admit up front that if you are more comfortable with such things, you might find less to criticize here than I did. But note: I said "might", because the empirical problems with this movie are still there, and they are still mighty. Plot: Laura is a journalist leading a spectacularly unfulfilling life while keeping up appearances for the folks back home. ("I'm having dinner... I just made steak", she says during a phone conversation to her mother, while scooping beans straight out of the can.) Her love life, in particular, is not giving her anything she needs-it's a series of one-night stands and masturbatory fantasies that leave her no better off than she was before they happened. Until, that is, spurred on by her younger brother (The Ruination of Men's Marco Zapata) finally getting involved in a stable relationship, she decides to go looking for one herself and gets involved with Arturo (Amores Perros' Gustavo Sánchez Parra), who quickly reveals himself to be a brutal, abusive, overly jealous cad of the sort that would have most people fleeing screaming in terror-but Laura seems perfectly fine with it. It's impossible to watch any sexual-obsession drama from Mexico these days and not compare it to Batalla en el Cielo, Carlos Reygadas' confusing, but accomplished, debut. In short, there is no metric by which you can compare this movie to that one in which this does not fall short. Rowe's faux-cinema-verite camerawork is laughable most of the time, used more as an excuse for crappy lighting and sound more than any artistic pretension (though not to say this movie isn't painfully pretentious). The pace is nonexistent in the first half and glacial in the second, and I say this as a huge fan of such slow-film masters as Ozu, Kieslowski, and Tarr. Simply put, there's nothing here; it's a slice-of-life drama with not enough slice for the S&M fiends and not enough life for anyone else. Half a star because, despite my desperately wanting to, I did not shut it off, persevering to the bitter (and entirely unfulfilling) end. 1/2
WAY MORE SICKER & F-ed Up than the Human Centipede 1 & 2 and Mysterious Skin combined... WTF did I just watch? Hahahahahaha
A deeply disturbing film, of a woman who allows an abusive man to brutalize her for reasons that only become clear to the viewer as the story unfolds. Laura (Monica del Carmen) works as a freelance journalist. Although not blessed with a svelte body or wildly beautiful good looks, she does alright in getting men to come back to her apartment. One of those trysts, with Arturo (Gustavo Sanchez Parro), becomes a twisted, macabre dance. Laura is a woman who carries a lot of pain, and the reasons for her self-degradation are not readily apparent. One only knows it is somehow tied to Leap Day, which she has marked on her calendar. This is not an easy film that could be called light entertainment. It is dark, and delves into some truly disturbing images that one is reluctant at times to watch. It asks the viewer to plumb the depths of one's soul to try to understand the motives at play. The film is relentless in drawing one into the twisted world these two inhabit. What little bit of hope to be found in this comes at the very end, if one can stay with it.
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