Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
|Featuring:||John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, John Corbett, Molly Shannon|
|Producer:||Simon Fields, Peter Abrams, Robert Levy, Simon Field|
I do not believe in fate. The word fate comes from the Latin fatum (I just knew those Latin classes would one day come in handy), “a spoken decree presumed from the gods”. It is the idea of a destiny that has been created for your life and is therefore unavoidable. The process is often associated with Karma. I believe that God has a plan for our lives and has given us the free will to choose or reject that plan.
I am thankful for the woman that God has brought into my life. We have been married almost twenty-five years. It has been a relationship built upon the foundation of HIS grace. My bride is my helpmate and not my Soul-mate. I know that many Christian counselors are now embracing this idea. It is not a bad word picture, but the word soul-mate means that somewhere two monads have split in the universe. They are desperately trying to make physical contact with each other. My lifetime mate was a prayerful process and our relationship continues to grow on that foundation.
Serendipity—n. an aptitude for making fortunate discoveries accidentally (Webster’s Dictionary)
I do not believe that lasting marriage vows are built on the foundation of accidents. I know—this film is just a fantasy, so I’ll have to not dwell too much on that.
“Serendipity” is the first film out of the Hollywood blocks with the theme of “No Name”, “No Address”, just “Fate”. The other film with a similar theme is “On the Line”. I liked this film as a romantic comedy, but I didn’t care for its worldview.
The movie takes place in New York (big sigh!). Miramax is taking the risk that the American public will overlook this fact. Our two characters that are caught in the plot of chance are Jonathan Trager (John Cusack) and Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale). The two meet in Bloomingdale’s just before Christmas. They both reach for the same pair of black cashmere gloves. They share some tender moments ice skating and eating at a quiet café called Serendipity. It is very clear that they are interested in each other, but Sara is caught up in the idea of destiny. Sara has Jonathan write his name and phone number on a $5 bill. She then uses the money to buy some mints (hey Jonathan—why didn’t you go up to the vender and get the $5 bill?). Sara then writes her name and number in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s book “Love in the Time of Cholera”. This story is about a man that waits 50 years to get his girl. She then promises to sell the book to a used bookstore and if either finds this information—then their love is meant to be.
We fast forward to some years later and both are on the threshold of marriage. Jonathan is engaged to Halley (Bridget Moynahan) and Sara is engaged to Lars Hammond (John Corbett). Lars is a New Age Kenny G type oboe performer (believe me it is funnier than it sounds). Both begin to see clues from their chance meeting and begin to pursue each other. Screenwriter Marc Klein does a wonder job of setting up some innocent plot points and letting us laugh. I loved the music by Alan Silvestri (“The Mummy Returns,” “Cast Away”). He had a great blend of nostalgic tunes plus some great mood music. The film was well cast. I liked Molly Shannon as Sara’s friend Eve and Jeremy Piven as Jonathan’s best man Dean. Eugene Levy also gives some light comedy as a Bloomingdale’s salesman.
The film has the above negatives and is closer to the rating of PG. It earns its rating by including some language and a brief scene of unintentional voyeurism. My positive notes include when Sara’s friend Eve tries to discourage her from the New Age path (always good advice). Eve should know—she works at a shop that sells the wares. Sara at her greatest moment of desperation cries out to God and Jonathan at his lowest point of discouragement is reminded, “When God closes a door, He opens a window”. I liked the suspense created by near misses. it’s like taking a trip back home… you know the scenery is familiar, but it’s the destination that you look forward to.
My recommendation is for husbands and wives to get a babysitter and enjoy a nice, fairly clean, romantic comedy (I would compare it to one of my favorites, “While You Were Sleeping”). Parents use some caution with your teens and explain to them the Biblical foundations of love. I like what Joshua Harris has written on the subject. it’s not a perfect movie (that’s Hollywood for you), but it is the best I have seen this year.