A ChucksConnection Film Review

Matthew Goode wears black low cut Converse “Chuck Taylor” All Stars in the film.

Chasing Liberty

by Hal Peterson


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Mandy Moore and Matthew Goode star in Chasing Liberty.

Anna Foster (Mandy Moore) is the seventeen-year-old daughter of President James Foster (Mark Harmon) and she is fed up with the constant surveillance of the Secret Service. James Foster is in his second term and so all through her adolescent and teenaged years her life has been lived in a fishbowl. This scrutiny is humorously presented in an opening scene where Anna has a date with one of her school classmates. From the moment he pulls up to the gates of the White House he is treated at a level just above a suspected terrorist, as various Secret Service agents give him the once over and even pull the petals off of the flowers he brings. At the restaurant where they go to eat, the Secret Service has taken over all of the tables and they are constantly listening in and making their presence known, blowing away any chance for intimacy. Finally Anna gets the gumption to have it out with her parents, as teenaged daughters are inclined to do, and demands more freedom and less restrictions on a state visit to Prague that the entire first family is going on. The President and First Lady (Caroline Goodall) agree that she could have less secret service agents following her, but are against her plans to attend a festival in Berlin with her friend, the daughter of the French ambassador.

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Ben and Anna enjoy the remainder of the concert from a rooftop.

The main action of the film begins, when Anna goes to a night club in Prague. Although she was promised that would only be two agents accompanying her, she soon discovers that there is an entire entourage of security all around her. Infuriated, Anna improvises an escape from her security by suddenly darting out of the night club. Quite a chase scene occurs, and when Anna bursts out into a crowded street, she impulsively asks a young man on a motorcycle, who she later learns is a British photographer named Ben Calder (Matthew Goode) to help her get away. Ben revs up his motorcycle and the chase is on. The two hit it off, and even through Anna doesn’t know a thing about him, entrusts him to take her on a tour of Europe, with the secret service not far behind. The two climb up onto a Prague rooftop and enjoy the ending of an outdoor concert and then travel down to Venice, Italy where they run into a friendly gondolier who lets them spend the night at his mother’s house. The big irony of all of this is that Ben is actually an undercover agent assigned to watch over Anna. So while Anna thinks she has escaped all surveillance, she is for the moment in safe hands. As the film continues, the two begin to develop a true affection for each other and Ben uses some of his skills to keep the secret service guessing where they actually are. In a parallel subplot, the two secret service agents (Jeremy Piven and Annabella Sciorra) who are in pursuing Ben and Anna are in a romantic relationship of their own. Things start to get complicated when Anna wants to go off on her own and do more wild and crazy things like bungee jumping while Ben wants her to stay with him so she will be safe. Will their relationship get serious and what will happen when the secret service finally catches up to them? These storylines make up the remainder of the film.

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Anna and Ben are befriended by a gondolier, who helps them escape from their pursuers.

Chasing Liberty is a throwback to the classic romantic comedies of earlier decades. Chasing Liberty belongs in a world where there are no terrorist threats, it is safe for naive teenagers to travel around Europe unsupervised and without fear of unwanted sexual advances. Even though Mandy’s character Anna is putting national security in danger with her actions, we still sympathize with her desire for some freedom to experience life on her own. And surprisingly, for a lot of the film, the premise works. This is due to the chemistry between Mandy Moore and Matthew Goode and their ability to imbue their impossible and illogical roles with personality, intelligence, and innocence. It is believable when they fall in love, argue, and make up. By sticking to its fifties premise, morality, and positive view of strangers, you experience a simple comedy that keeps you from thinking about how this plot would unfold in the real world of today. There are enough elements to earn its PG-13 rating, and make Mandy Moore relevant to today's teenaged girls who could imagine themselves traveling around Europe just like Anna does.

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After an argument, Anna wants to get away from Ben.

Best Chucks Scene

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A desperate Ben finally catches up with Anna at a bridge.

Matthew Goode, in his role as Ben, wears black low cut chucks throughout the film. Along with his tee shirt and jeans, his chucks make him appear like a typical young European man in his twenties, even though he is also a secret service agent as well. There are few close ups in the cinematography. The best two shots are when Ben is rescuing Anna from troublesome situations that she has gotten herself in.

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Ben rescues Anna from the crowd.

Chasing Liberty. (2003) Mandy Moore, Matthew Goode, Mark Harmon, Jeremy Piven, Annabella Sciorra, Stark Sands.
Categories: Comedy, Romance.
ChucksConnection Rating: 2 chucks ratingMPAA Rating: PG-13

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