Reviewed by: Brett Willis
|Featuring:||Richard Gere, Sharon Stone, Lolita Davidovich, Martin Landau, David Selby, Jenny Morrison|
|Producer:||Mark Rydell, Randy Golchan, Bud Yorkin|
This remake of a French film, set in Vancouver, B.C., showcases the ambivalence of a man who can’t decide between his wife and his mistress.
In the opening scene, architect Vincent Eastman (Richard Gere) is shown heading into a potentially fatal multicar accident. Most of the rest of the film is flashback. Some viewers believe that the bulk of the film is meant to represent Eastman’s compressed thoughts during those few seconds (“his life passing before him”). It was my impression that we’re just shown the ending first, then the film goes into external flashback, and within that section Eastman has limited internal flashbacks. In any case we get a review of Eastman’s life for the previous 14 years, during which he’s become dissatisfied with and disrespectful of his wife and business partner Sally (Sharon Stone) and has taken up with another woman, Olivia (Lolita Davidovich). He knows he’s harming a lot of people, especially his adoring 13-year-old daughter Meaghan (Jennifer Morrison), but he just can’t make up his mind.
There’s moderate profanity, including a half-dozen or so uses of f* (most of them during an argument at a construction site which is irrelevant to the main storyline). There are some flashes of gratuitous nudity, including one while Vincent and Olivia are playing Charades (don’t ask…). There’s one simulated sex scene, fully clothed and over very quickly (the point of the scene is that Vincent wanted to be spontaneous and Sally did what he asked, but her heart wasn’t in it). Sally is portrayed as a cold, no-nonsense businesswoman; but after Vincent has moved out, she at one point makes a play for him, being more romantic than she ever was before (or at least more than Vincent’s selective memories ever show her being).
During a dedication speech at an American Indian Culture Museum that he designed, Vincent makes a reference to Indians being close to God by being close to nature; we can’t tell if he’s sincere or just being Politically Correct.
There’s an interesting twist at the end that gives “closure” to both Sally and Olivia. Is it worth watching the whole thing, just to see what that twist is? No. This film wasn’t great, but (considering that the lead actors are famous for steamy love scenes) it could have been much worse. It points out and dramatizes a common problem, but provides no answers.
Dr. James Dobson’s book “Love Must Be Tough” has some interesting advice on how to respond to a spouse who feels trapped in an undesirable marriage; he says acting counter-intuitively and freely letting the other person go maximizes the chances that he/she will decide to stay after all. Anyone who’s actually facing such a situation might benefit from getting his book and reading the advice in its proper context.