The Proposal (2009 film)

The Proposal is a 2009 American romantic comedy film directed by Anne Fletcher and written by Peter Chiarelli. It is produced by Kurtzman/Orci Productions, Mandeville Films and Touchstone Pictures for Walt Disney Pictures, and stars Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds with Betty White, Mary Steenburgen, and Craig T. Nelson. The plot centers on a Canadian executive who learns that she may face deportation from the U.S. because of her expired visa. Determined to retain her position as editor-in-chief of a publishing house, she convinces her assistant to temporarily act as her fiancé.

The Proposal
A man backed up, a woman holding a jewelry case to his face.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAnne Fletcher
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyOliver Stapleton
Edited byPriscilla Nedd-Friendly
Music byAaron Zigman
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • June 1, 2009 (2009-06-01) (El Capitan Theatre)
  • June 19, 2009 (2009-06-19) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$40 million[1]
Box office$317.4 million[1]

Development began in 2005, when Chiarelli wrote the script. Principal filming occurred over a period of two months from March to May 2008. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who criticized its screenplay but praised the chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds. It was a box office success, grossing over $317 million worldwide on its $40 million budget. Bullock was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.


Margaret Tate is an executive editor-in-chief of a New York book publishing company and, due to her unpleasant personality, is universally hated by everyone she works with. After learning she is about to be deported back to Canada because she violated the terms of her work visa, she persuades her much abused assistant, Andrew Paxton, to marry her. She reminds Andrew that if she's deported, the work he put in as her assistant will be lost, and he'll be set back in his dream to become an editor. Mr. Gilbertson, a U.S. immigration agent, informs them that he suspects they are committing fraud to avoid Margaret's deportation. Gilbertson tells them that they'll be asked questions about each other separately. If their answers don't match, Margaret will be deported to Canada permanently and Andrew will be convicted of a felony punishable by a $250,000 fine and five years in prison. Andrew insists that Margaret make him an editor after their marriage and publish the book he's been recommending to her. Margaret is forced to agree.

The couple travels to Sitka, Alaska, Andrew's hometown, to meet his family. Margaret meets Andrew's mother Grace and grandmother Annie, known as "Gammy". During the trip to the family home, Margaret notices that nearly every shop in town carries the name Paxton and learns that Andrew's family is in fact very wealthy. During a welcome home party, Andrew confronts his father, Joe, who is angry about Andrew dating the boss he has so long disliked and thinks he is using her to get ahead in his career. After their argument, Andrew announces the engagement to everyone. Margaret also meets Gertrude, Andrew's ex-girlfriend. At the party they tell everyone the story of how Andrew proposed to Margaret.

The next day, Grace and Annie take Margaret to a local bar as part of her bachelorette party to watch a strip dance by a locally famous but over-the-hill exotic dancer, Ramone. Stepping away from the show, Margaret learns from Gertrude that Andrew wanted to become an editor and make his own life and that Andrew had proposed to Gertrude. However, Gertrude refused because she didn't want to leave Sitka for New York. Returning home, Margaret learns of the conflict between Andrew and Joe. That night, Margaret asks Andrew about his relationship with his father, but Andrew refuses to talk. Instead, Margaret opens up to Andrew.

The next day, the family convinces them to marry while they're in Sitka. After Margaret realizes how close Andrew's family is, she becomes upset, gets on Andrew's boat, and speeds away with him. She tells him she has been alone since she was sixteen years old after her parents died and had forgotten what it felt like to have a family. She lets go of the helm and stumbles to the back of the boat. Andrew makes a sharp turn to avoid hitting a buoy, and Margaret falls out of the boat. Andrew quickly turns the boat around and saves her because she can't swim. At the wedding ceremony, Margaret confesses the truth about the wedding to the guests, including Gilbertson, who informs her she has twenty-four hours to leave for Canada.

Margaret returns to the Paxton home to pack her things. Andrew rushes to their room only to find Margaret has already left, leaving his book manuscript with a note of praise and a promise to publish it. Gertrude attempts to comfort Andrew and asks approvingly if he is going to go after her. As he rushes out to find Margaret, another argument arises between him and Joe. Annie appears to have a heart attack, causing her and the family to be airlifted to the hospital and convinces them to reconcile before she "passes away". After she succeeds in getting things moving again, she admits to faking the heart attack as it was the only means to get their attention and tells the pilot to head to the airport in hopes of catching up to Margaret. Andrew's parents realize he really loves Margaret. He goes to New York and tells Margaret he loves her in front of the entire office staff. They kiss, then go to Gilbertson and inform him they are again engaged, but for real this time. The film ends with Gilbertson asking questions (some of them irrelevant) not only to Andrew and Margaret, but also Grace, Joe, Annie, and Ramone.



The Proposal premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California.

Peter Chiarelli wrote the script for the film in 2005.[2] In May 2007, it was announced that Sandra Bullock had been given a lead role for The Proposal.[3] Julia Roberts was originally approached for the lead, but declined.[4] Nearly two months later, it was reported that plans were being finalized for Ryan Reynolds to star opposite Bullock.[2] In January 2008, Touchstone Pictures signed Anne Fletcher to direct.[5] The film premiered on June 1, 2009 at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California.[6]

Shooting for The Proposal began in April 2008 in Rockport, Massachusetts.[7] In the days leading up to production, part of the town was remodeled to simulate Sitka, Alaska, the primary setting.[7] Principal photography began on April 9 at Bearskin Neck, and continued for 24 hours. Filming resumed at the Motif Number One building on Bradley Wharf (April 14–16), the Haskins Building (April 15–18), and the central business district of Rockport (April 17).[7][8] Principal photography relocated to Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts on April 22, for approximately two weeks. City officials accommodated the producers by renting out all their parking lots. Filming for The Proposal was delayed briefly when Bullock and her husband were involved in a car accident.[9] The wedding scene was filmed in a three-story twentieth century Victorian home; photography at the residence lasted three weeks.[10] In an interview with The New York Times, the homeowners stated that Nelson Coates knocked on their door asking for leaves. The owners directed Coates to other residences, but eventually gave the producer a tour of the house. Production occurred on the first floor of the home.[7][10] Outside of the Cape Ann area, filming took place in Boston, Massachusetts at the State Street Bank Building and in Lower Manhattan in New York City.[11] The Proposal contained 350 special effect shots, with some parts edited using computer-generated imagery.[12] The score for The Proposal was composed by Aaron Zigman, who recorded it with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Sony Scoring Stage.[13]

As part of an extensive advertising campaign, Reynolds discussed his participation in a nude scene. Expressing that she had been initially nervous, Bullock stated in an interview with Sky News that "when everyone else acts like it's just a normal day it really helps you relax." Although she said that producers had provided them with fig leaves, Bullock stated that they would continuously fall off. She added, "You could literally see everything."[14] Similar sentiments were expressed by Reynolds, who in an interview with People, stated, "Filming a scene that involves being entirely naked and takes a couple days can be a little awkward." He continued: "Thankfully you're there for so long and you're doing it for so long that you dispense with the awkwardness pretty quickly and start to have mundane, normal conversations – the difference being you're not wearing pants."[15]


Box officeEdit

The Proposal was released in the United States on June 19, 2009. On its opening day, the film grossed an estimated $12.7 million in 3,056 theaters, becoming the highest-grossing film of the day.[16] It later went on to gross over $34 million during its opening weekend, beating out Year One, Up, and The Hangover.[17] In an exit poll conducted by Disney, nearly 63% of the opening audience consisted of female viewers, 78% were eighteen or older, and 71% were classified as couples.[17] It marked the biggest opening weekend out of any film in Bullock's career, nearly doubling from her previous holder, Premonition.[18] As of October 2011, the film had grossed over $164 million in the United States and Canada.[1]

Box office performances showed similar numbers in international markets. The film was released in Australia on June 18, 2009, grossing over $2.8 million on its opening weekend. In Russia, the film grossed over $2.6 million on its opening weekend, accounting for 34% of all total film revenue in that country.[19] In South Africa the film debuted at number two, losing out to the new release Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. It managed to gross over $2.6 million as of October 2011.[19] In the United Kingdom, estimated first opening weekend grosses stand at £3.2 million.[20] The film has grossed over $317 million worldwide, with international grosses standing at $153 million.[1] It is the twentieth highest-grossing film of 2009.[21]

Critical receptionEdit

Critics praised the chemistry between Sandra Bullock (left) and Ryan Reynolds (right)

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 44% based on 187 reviews, with an average rating of 5.32/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds exhibit plenty of chemistry, but they're let down by The Proposal's devotion to formula."[22] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating, the film has a score of 48 out of 100, based on 30 reviews from critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[23] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[24]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times offered a mixed review, giving the film three out of four stars despite complaining that the film "recycles a plot that was already old when Tracy and Hepburn were trying it out" but adding he was eventually won over by the performances.[25] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone was very critical of the film, calling it insipid. He wrote, "Anne Fletcher directs Peter Chiarelli's script like a manufacturer of hard plastic that is guaranteed to ward off intrusion from all recognizable human emotion."[26] New York Times writer Manohla Dargis felt that Bullock's character was awkward in comparison to her previous work. She continued: "She’s always been better in fundamentally independent roles that allow her to grab the wheel [...] and take the spotlight [...], an independence that persists all the way through the last-act coupling. She can smile as brightly at a man as well as the next leading lady, though, like all genuinely big female stars, she’s really more of a solo act."[27] The Telegraph's Tim Robey expressed disappointment towards the film, giving it a two out of five stars.[28]

It's saying a lot about this section [...] that its comic highlight is Bullock having her mobile phone stolen by a passing eagle, and proffering the family's puppy by way of exchange. In fairness, the leads get very naked before they strictly intend to, and the sound department notches up at least one big laugh with the wettest slap you've ever heard when they unexpectedly collide [...]. But the more recurrent noise towards the end was me groaning with disappointment, that a movie which had struck gold with its central matchmaking was succeeding so ruthlessly in taking the shine off. On the plus side, it's done great business, so we might get to see Bullock and Reynolds back in something soon.

— Tim Robey of The Telegraph[28]

The interaction between Reynolds and Bullock was well received by critics. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly opined that the chemistry between the two actors was "fresh and irresistible."[29] Zorianna Kit of The Huffington Post exclaimed that "what [kept] audiences of this lite-fare comedy in their seats is the undeniable on-screen chemistry between leads Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds." She continued: "The two are so adept at comedy and have so much fun with one another, viewers watching The Proposal won't be able to resist their charms, even when some of the plot veers in to unnecessarily silliness."[30] Betsey Sharkley of the Los Angeles Times felt that their relationship was a "cheeky update of The Taming of the Shrew." She opined, "Bullock's deft physical comedy, one of her most endearing qualities, is given a full run. [...] Reynolds' ability to deliver a line, or a look, with withering, surgical precision is there at every turn."[31] Giving it a one out of five stars, The Guardian writer Peter Bradshaw gave a negative reaction to the interaction between Reynolds and Bullock. Bradshaw stated: "Their initial sparky detestation isn't convincing, and neither is their later thawing and romance. In each scene, it looks as if they have never met before. And Margaret isn't permitted to be a convincing cow, because that would make her unsympathetic [...]. Andrew can't be a total wimp, because that would be unsexy, so the fundamental comic premises of the film are fudged."[32]


List of awards and nominations
Award Category Recipients Result
15th Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards[33] Best Comedy Film Nominated
67th Golden Globe Awards[34] Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical Sandra Bullock Nominated
2010 Kids' Choice Awards Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actress (along with The Blind Side) Nominated
2010 MTV Movie Awards[35] Best Comedic Performance Nominated
Ryan Reynolds Nominated
Best Kiss Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds Nominated
Best WTF Moment Betty White Nominated
36th People's Choice Awards[36] Favorite Comedy Movie Won
Favorite On-Screen Team Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds Nominated
Favorite Movie Nominated
14th Satellite Awards[37] Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Sandra Bullock Nominated
2010 Teen Choice Awards[38][39] Choice Movie Dance Sandra Bullock & Betty White Won
Choice Scene Stealer – Female Betty White Nominated
Choice Movie Chemistry Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds Nominated
Choice Movie Liplock Nominated
Choice Movie – Romantic Comedy Nominated
Choice Movie Actress – Romantic Comedy Sandra Bullock Won
Choice Movie Actor – Romantic Comedy Ryan Reynolds Nominated
2009 Teen Choice Awards[40] Choice Summer Movie – Romance Won
Choice Summer Movie Star – Male Ryan Reynolds Nominated
Choice Summer Movie Star – Female Sandra Bullock Nominated

Home mediaEdit

The Proposal was released by Touchstone Home Entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray on October 13, 2009.[41] It sold over 2.4 million units within its first week, translating to an addition of $39.3 million in the box office.[42] In its second week, sales numbers declined by 70% to 623,744 units, ranking second among DVD sales of the week.[42] By July 2013, The Proposal had sold over 5.6 million units and earned over $90 million in sales.[42]


Indian remakesEdit

Chinese remakeEdit


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  3. ^ Kits, Borys (May 25, 2007). "Romantic 'Proposal' for Bullock". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  4. ^ Abramowitz, Rachel (January 12, 2010). "Can Julia Roberts come back on her own terms?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
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  16. ^ Ellwood, Gregory (June 20, 2009). "Friday Box Office: 'The Proposal' gives Sandra Bullock a record opening day". HitFix. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  17. ^ a b Gray, Brandon (2009-06-21). "Weekend Report: 'Proposal' Pops to the Top, 'Year One' Lacks Stones". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
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  32. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (July 23, 2009). "The Proposal". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
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External linksEdit