Reviewed by: Kevin Burk
|Featuring:||Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron, Greg Germann, Lauren Graham, Jason Isaacs|
|Producer:||Elliott Kastner, Steven Reuther, Deborah Aal Stoff, Erwin Stoff|
“Sweet November” tells the story of an unusual relationship between Nelson (Keanu Reeves), a workaholic advertising executive, and Sarah (Charlize Theron), an attractive, outgoing and quirky woman who takes Nelson in for a month in an attempt to change his life for the better. It uses their situation as a vehicle to offer lessons about life, love and the things we value.
As the film opens, Nelson has burned himself out on his job, gets fired and loses his live-in girlfriend all in one day. He also has to renew his license at the DMV. After trying to cheat off her test paper, he gets Sarah thrown out of the DMV for “cheating.” Sensing an opportunity, Sarah offers to take Nelson on as a lover for one month and enrich his empty, pointless life. After some coaxing Nelson agrees and begins to learn to stop and enjoy the simple, beautiful things in life—the outdoors, helping others and romance. He is forced to take an honest look at himself and comes up wanting. Nelson eventually becomes so entranced by Sarah’s free spirit, he proposes marriage, and learns Sarah’s secret (the reason she takes in men for only a month). So as not to spoil the ending, I’ll tell you only that it’s a tearjerker, though you’ll probably see it coming. I found the ending somewhat unsatisfying, but the film still made its point that Nelson had learned some valuable lessons from Sarah and emerged a better person for having known her.
Overall, this film had a strong moral message, encouraging us to value life, love and people over material things and status. Still, it could have done it without the sexual relationship between the leads, the now stereotypical gay neighbor and some of the foul language. The two performance and chemistry of the leads keep this picture engaging and heartwarming. I would recommend this film, with reservations, and only for adults or older teens who see it with parents as a vehicle for discussion about its issues.