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Autumn in New York (2000)
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Review Date: August 11, 2000
Director: Joan Chen
Writer: Allison Burnett
Producers: G. Lucchesi, A. Robinson, T. Rosenberg
Actors:
Richard Gere
Winona Ryder
Plot:
Old, rich, womanizing man falls for a young, perky girl with a secret. You know the story...boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl again, etc... Obstacles are thrown in the way of their relationship and the couple must struggle to make the best of their difficult situation.
Critique:
A sad, love story featuring a distant performance from Richard Gere, a good turn by Ryder but a lack of real emotion needed to fuel its supposedly moving, and unoriginal, story line. Having said that, despite no new ground being broken with this film, I did appreciate the lead couple's chemistry (for the most part) and was never really bored during its runtime, in spite of some overly sappy dialogue at times. In fact, having gone in with expectations of the worst kind, I must say that the overall film surprised me as a pretty "okay" time. But in the end, I just can't recommend it because all real love stories inevitably live or die according to the audience's connection to its lead characters, and if the characters in the movie don't "work", the film as a whole suffers. Having said that, I thought Winona was quite commendable in her role. She was perky when she needed to be, cute at that, sad when the time called for it, and even angry, when things got out of hand.

Richard Gere, on the other hand, well...who was the brave soul who actually believed that he might be able to pull off more than a handful of emotions in this film? I mean, I like Richard Gere, I think he's an interesting man, a decent performer, but a good actor, well...not really. How can I empathize with the film or its characters when I don't really feel any emotion when emotion is what is supposed to be stirring up inside me at that time? I mean, I had more tears in my eyes when I found out that Jar Jar Binks was returning in the Star Wars sequel than Gere did in his major breakdown scene here! But if you take away the "Gere" factor, the film itself does present some decent style, via rookie director Joan Chen, a soothing soundtrack and some nice shots of New York City (natch!). But in the end, it just failed to "pull me into" its story as much as it should have. And yes, I definitely could have done without some of the really corny lines and poetry, but then again, others may think it romantic. I do understand the studio's difficulty in marketing such a film though. Despite its romantic moments, the film also deals with a very bleak subject matter and in a very big way. The studio decided to show only the "good stuff" in the trailer, which may ultimately bite them in the ass, when couples walk out of the film, disappointed and surprised to find such gloominess within.

I didn't mind that so much, in fact, I thought another great title for the film could've been THE AGING WOMANIZER, but the movie itself probably isn't really worth checking out in the theatres. But if don't mind shlocky "remakes" of other sappy stuff, like the two lead actors and just wanna get out of the house...well, okay then! :)
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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