Definitely, Maybe is a 2008 romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Adam Brooks, and starring Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, Abigail Breslin, and Kevin Kline. Set in New York City during the 1990s, the film is about a political consultant who tries to help his eleven-year-old daughter understand his impending divorce by telling her the story of his past romantic relationships and how he ended up marrying her mother. The film grossed $55 million worldwide.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Adam Brooks|
|Written by||Adam Brooks|
|Music by||Clint Mansell|
|Edited by||Peter Teschner|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$55.6 million|
Will Hayes works at an advertising agency in New York City and is in the midst of a divorce. After her first sex education class, his 10-year-old daughter Maya insists on hearing the story of how her parents met. Will gives in, but changes the names and some of the facts, leaving Maya to guess which of the women from his past would become her mother.
Will begins his “mystery love story” in 1992, when he moves away from Madison, Wisconsin and his college sweetheart, Emily, to work on the Clinton campaign in New York City. There, he meets April Hoffman, a fellow campaign staffer, and delivers a package from Emily to her college friend, Summer Hartley. The package is revealed to be Summer’s diary, which Will had read, learning she had a brief affair with Emily. Summer is dating her professor, Hampton Roth, but spontaneously kisses Will.
He tells April his plan to propose to Emily, and rehearses his proposal; April replies, “Definitely, maybe”. They go to her apartment, where Will notices her many copies of Jane Eyre. She explains that her father gave her a copy with a personal inscription shortly before he died, but the book was later lost. She has spent years searching secondhand bookstores to find it, and collects any copy with an inscription. April and Will kiss, but he abruptly leaves. The next day, Emily arrives in New York City. Will tries to propose, but Emily confesses that she slept with his roommate, and urges him to move on and pursue his ambitions.
After Clinton is elected, Will opens a political consulting firm, and stays in close touch with April as she travels the world. He encounters Summer, now a journalist and single, and they begin a relationship. April returns from abroad, planning to tell Will that she loves him, but discovers he is planning to propose to Summer. Will learns that Summer has written an article that will ruin his candidate’s campaign. He asks her not to publish it, but she refuses, and Will ends their relationship. The article derails the campaign, losing Will his political career and friends.
Years later, April reaches out to Will, who has fallen into depression in his new job, while she has a new boyfriend named Kevin. She throws Will a birthday party, reuniting him with his old colleagues. He drunkenly confesses to April that he loves her, leading to an argument about the state of their lives. Passing a bookstore, he finds the inscribed copy of Jane Eyre April’s father gave her. He goes to April’s apartment to give her the book, but decides against it when he meets Kevin, who is living with her. Will runs into Summer who tells him she’s pregnant and invites him to a party where he reunites with Emily, who has recently moved to New York City.
In the present, Maya deduces that “Emily” is her mother. Will assures Maya that she is the story’s happy ending, and the two finalize their divorce. Unpacking in his new apartment, he discovers April’s book. He brings it to her, apologizing for waiting so long, but she asks him to leave. At Maya’s urging, Will realizes he is miserable without April: whose name he didn’t change in the story like he did to “Emily” who’s real name is Sarah and to “Summer” who’s real name is Natasha. Will and Maya go to April’s apartment and he tries to explain his reasonings to her but she doesn’t let them inside so Will and Maya walk away, but April runs after them. Will explains that he kept the book as the only thing he had left of her. April invites them in to tell her the story, and she and Will kiss.
- Ryan Reynolds as William "Will" Matthew Hayes
- Isla Fisher as April Hoffman
- Derek Luke as Russell T. McCormack
- Abigail Breslin as Maya Hayes
- Elizabeth Banks as "Emily Jones"/ Sarah
- Rachel Weisz as "Summer Hartley"/ Natasha
- Kevin Kline as Professor Hampton Roth
- Adam Ferrara as Gareth
- Annie Parisse as Anne
- Liane Balaban as Kelly
- Nestor Serrano as Arthur Robredo
- Marc Bonan as Kevin
- Alexie Gilmore as Olivia
- Kevin Corrigan as Simon
The film was scored by English composer Clint Mansell. Lakeshore Records released the score on March 18, 2008. All Music Guide reviewer William Ruhlmann praised the album as filled with "sweet, melodic numbers that often seem to lack only a lyric to turn them into pop songs". He also stated that it functioned as "light accompaniment to an equally light entertainment".
In its opening weekend, the film cleared its production budget of $7 million by grossing $9.8 million in 2,204 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #5 at the box office. As of September 28, 2008, the film has grossed $55,447,968 worldwide.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 70% based on reviews from 148 critics, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's consensus reads: "With a clever script and charismatic leads, Definitely, Maybe is a refreshing entry into the romantic comedy genre." On Metacritic the film has an average score of 59 out of 100 based on 33 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B+ on scale of A to F.
Dennis Harvey of Variety magazine called it "A pleasingly non-formulaic romantic seriocomedy, Definitely, Maybe has charm and some depth, even if it’s ultimately more a third-base hit than a home run." A.O. Scott of The New York Times called it "A nimble and winning little romance". Claudia Puig of USA Today gave it a positive review and wrote: "It's generally enjoyable, amusing and more sophisticated than most films in this genre."
Stephen Farber The Hollywood Reporter gave a more mixed review, but praised the cast: "The film is far from a complete washout, and this is chiefly a tribute to its immensely attractive and appealing cast. Ryan Reynolds proves to have the stuff of a true leading man."
- "Definitely, Maybe (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. January 7, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
- "Definitely, Maybe (2008)". British Film Institute. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- Definitely, Maybe: Movie Details at the-numbers.com Accessed 30 December 2017
- "Clint Mansell Definitely, Maybe [Original Score]". www.allmusic.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
- "Definitely, Maybe (2008) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
- "Definitely, Maybe (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on April 3, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
- "Definitely, Maybe (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
- "Definitely, Maybe (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
- "DEFINITELY, MAYBE (2008) B+". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
- Harvey, Dennis (January 25, 2008). "Definitely, Maybe". Variety.
- Scott, A. O. (February 14, 2008). "How I Met Your Mother: A History Lesson in Love". The New York Times.
- Puig, Claudia. "Breslin's charmer is 'Definitely' cute, certainly not real". USA Today. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
- "Definitely, Maybe". The Hollywood Reporter.