Review Date: August 13, 2002
Director: Neil Labute
Writer: David Henry Hwang, Laura Jones, Neil LaBute
Producers: Barry Levinson, Paula Weinstein
Aaron Eckhart as Roland Michell
Gwyneth Paltrow as Maud Bailey
Jeremy Northam as Randolph Henry Ash
Both actors from that period, Jeremy Northam (does this man do any modern-day stuff?) and Jennifer Ehle (aka Meryl Streep with a chubby face), also did a wondrous job of portraying the angst, frustration and deep-rooted passion between these two characters, making it all that much more believable. I also enjoyed the modern day story with Paltrow and Eckhart (great hair, btw!), which certainly wasn't as deep or gripping as the former tale, but did manage to attain that sweet level, with both characters needing to work through their own shit, to get to a place where they could accept and love one another. I also dug the chemistry between all of the lovers in the movie (for anyone who knows the "lovers" sketch from "Saturday Night Live", please make sure to pronounce that as "lavers"!), the beautiful landscape and European sights, the way each step of the "mystery" was unraveled and ultimately, the potency of the film's love chronicles. Yes, the film did feel a little contrived near the end and a tad long, but overall I was captivated by all that transpired on the screen, and considering that I'm not exactly the balls-out Neil Labute fan or ready to accept an unconditional love story myself (since my recent break-up, romance/love and I haven't exactly mixed very well), I guess this pony accomplished its trick. Also, the film's not as stuffy as you might think. Eckhart's character plays the "boorish" American studying in England and he has his share of witty quips here and there. Definitely one of the better rounded romance stories of the past year. Hip-hip Labute!