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Message In A Bottle (1999)
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Review Date: February 14, 1999
Director: Luis Mandoki
Writer: Gerald DiPego
Producers: K. Costner, D. DiNovi, J. Wilson
Actors:
Kevin Costner as Garrett Blake
Robin Wright Penn as Theresa
Paul Newman as Dodge Blake
Plot:
Man loses a wife. Man writes her letters in a bottle and tosses them into the ocean to ease his pain. Another woman finds the messages and sets out to find the man behind the beautifully honest words. Once found, the two share each other's pains and experiences, and find some solace, and more, in each other's company.
Critique:
An ironic adult story of love and mourning. This movie is a bit slow, has some nice romance, bordering on sappiness, some solid acting performances, and a hokey ending. For all those who go to see this film expecting to find a wonderfully romantic time at the movies, well, you might be quite disappointed. This movie does have some tender moments, along with some romantic touches, but over and above it all, it caters to a story line drenched in the incapacity of a man to move on with his life, after his loved one has passed away. This film might even be a success in the hearts and minds of all those people whose lives have suddenly halted after the loss of someone dear to their hearts. Don't get me wrong, there is an obvious love story that brews up between the two leads here, it's just that I didn't expect the grieving undertones of the film to be as accentuated as they are.

The actors are all very good with Costner pulling off another vulnerable, nice, tough and rumble everyguy with his eyes closed and his hands tied behind his back. Wright Penn is also decent in her role, but nothing to write into a bottled letter and drop into the ocean. Newman on the other hand seemed stereotyped from what I had seen of him in the previews, but actually zings it up as the gruffy ol' dad, reminiscent of his wonderful performance in NOBODY'S FOOL (8/10). Mood-wise, the whole "feel" of the movie is very comfy and authentic, especially during the wooing sequences over the first half of the movie. If you're a sea lover, you might love this film even more, since the water does seem to permeate these peoples' lives quite deeply. Overall, the cinematography is nice, the actors are all very good, but I found the whole piece to be a little too slow and uneventful for my taste. It seemed to be much more of a cathartic picture rather than romantic, but all in all, not an awful movie. And yes, Mrs. JoBlo and I did catch it on Valentine's Day!
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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