In a split second, Jack's (Grant) seemingly perfect world comes crashing down around him when his wife dies in childbirth. Suddenly faced with this tragic loss and the demands of single parenthood to his baby girl, Sarah, ... more »Jack spontaneously hires a beautiful young American waitress named Amy (Mathis) as a nanny. But Amy, who is unqualified, inexperienced and unsuitable for the job, only complicates matters further when Jack finds himself falling for her! With his overprotective mother (Dench), drunkard housekeeper (McKellen) and romantically interested boss (Cherie Lunghi) all attempting to intervene, can this tidy British widower and his decidedly undomestic domestic find love against all the odds?« less
Great movie to watch over again, some improbabilities...
bookjunkiereviews | India | 06/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First, I have watched this movie over several times in the space of one week, mainly to get the first half-hour, and to watch the expressions on the faces of the baby and Jack as they bond. And the first time I watched, I snuffled my way past three moments... something that I have not done for a long time in watching movies.
Secondly, I admit to renting this movie primarily because of Richard E. Grant and learning a bit about his filmography and his personal life. [For more on both, I recommend his own website]. However, the movie came with a delightful and remarkable bonus - superb turns by notable actors in secondary characters Margaret (Dame Judi Dench, of "Mrs Brown", "Elizabeth", and the British series "As Time Goes By" fame), Philli (Dame Eileen Atkins, who co-developed the classic British series "Upstairs Downstairs"), and William (Sir Ian McKellen, of "Gods and Monsters" and "Richard III").
There is a slight frisson in seeing Richard Grant and Ian McKellen in the same movie. Grant plays the Scarlet Pimpernel in the controversial A&E/BBC version that strays from the original storyline. McKellen played Chauvelin in the 1982 version starring Anthony Andrews. Having just seen both versions lent this movie an extra fillip.
Now to the merits of the film itself. It is a maudlin comedy, in that there are comic moments but the film starts off more as a tragedy waiting to happen. And the tragedy does take place quite soon - and Jack, a lawyer who apparently has everything, finds his life falling apart. His bonding with his infant daughter (forced upon him by his relatives) gives him a reason to go on. I found this the strongest part of the film, although I was somewhat upset by omission of facts (such as the manner of Sarah's death) and some improbabilities (the apparent ease with which Jack could absent himself from his job, without being fired).
Jack's breakdown was however portrayed brilliantly, and in watching the beginning a fourth time, I was able to follow the stages of his despair as I had never done earlier. It may be that the accents are slightly strange to me, but multiple viewings allowed me to pick up first this, and then that - only going to showcase the talents of Grant and the supporting actors.
Having bestowed all this praise (and ooohed and aahed over the cute little baby, or baby actors playing the baby), I must say that I was somewhat less convinced over the love affair. I won't go into details for fearing of spoiling the film for you. A little personal history for Amy (the nanny) would have helped. All we learn is that she is an American in London, that she knows nothing about child care, and we also learn a little bit about a past relationship.
Keeper status: Very likely, but not definite. You really have to like this kind of film, or just adore British film actors. I love Dench and Grant, but I am not sure I want to add this film to my video collection.
Re-viewing status: Very likely. This film is definitely worth watching again.
This review was originally written June 25, 2001 and edited slightly on October 24, 2004.
Corrections (made 24 Oct 2004): Dame Eileen Atkins did not play Rose in Upstairs, Downstairs (that role was played by Jean Marsh), and I have edited that accordingly. [My apologies to both actresses, and my thanks to Karen who wrote in]. I also placed the film and series names within inverted commas, and clarified which titles were series."
One of those classics you can see again and again
Phil Perkins | Massachusetts | 11/19/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've watched this twice now on the Romance Channel and loved it more each time. The characters are so right in the parts they play and the love that grows between the main characters is not sudden but develops nicely. I hope the company rereleases it again, I want to purchase it, it's a classic."
mary | California, US | 11/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first stumbled onto this movie on the Romance channnel, not knowing much about the movie or the actors in it. I fell in love with this movie and highly recommend it. I have since watched it several times and I am now a huge fan of Richard E. Grant. He is a truly great actor. British film at its best!"
Jack & Sarah
marol35 | Texas | 12/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My VHS of Four Weddings and a Funeral included a preview of Jack & Sarah. I searched video stores looking for a copy for over a year. When I fianlly was able to rent it I was glad that I had not stopped looking. I have since seen it on the Romance Channel and I think that some scenes have been edited. Hopefully this film will be released in VHS or DVD soon. If your a fan of Richard E. Grant check out the three Scarlet Pimpernel movies he made with Elizabeth McGovern. He is the perfect dashing, rogue!"
Enchanting story of accepting loss and moving on.
bookjunkiereviews | 10/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was already a fan of Samantha Mathis. But now I am a huge fan of Richard E. Grant. He was marvelous as the grieving husband left to be a father to his infant daughter. The pair had a wonderful chemistry and the story was charming. I only wish the studio would release the video for sale. I will snap it up immediately!"