The straps might help
Peter Shelley | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 06/26/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This obtuse romantic drama from writer/director playwright David Hare is a major misfire after his debut with Wetherby and the underrated Paris by Night. Anyone that knows Hare as a playwright, knows that he specialises in doomed relationships, which was a feature of both Wetherby and Plenty. It is said that Plenty came out of Hare's real life relationship with actress Kate Nelligan who did the London and Broadway runs but lost the film role to Meryl Streep. It is said too that this film is Hare's paean to Blair Brown who won hearts on her cable TV series The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd. However while Fred Schepisi made Streep look great in Plenty but failed to help her overcome her basic miscasting, Hare as director does the opposite for Brown, by lighting her unflatteringly but still managing to let us see her skill as an actor. Like Susan Traherne in Plenty, Brown's American doctor living in England is meant to be emotionally fragile and therefore vulnerable to the exotic gambler "Mr Forbes" (Bruno Ganz) who urges her to "jump" in his use of horse metaphors. Hare likes his portents, giving Brown a terminal patient, so when Brown meets Ganz gazing at a crucifix with him picking up her dropped handerkerchief, things don't bode well for them, (the handkerchief is a particularly corny touch), and having a sign at a registry office "No rice or confetti is to be thrown on council premises". Hare's screenplay is lumbered with lines that are embarassing for a playwright of his stature, like "I'm totally in love with you and old enough to know I always will be", "I don't have it in me to have a baby", "He was running on empty", "He went to the heart of me", and "You have certain feelings and then you have to pick up the bill". This is the kind of movie where someone flees to a storeroom for solace and gets a succession of visitors, and being set in England, where a cup of tea is the answer to all problems. The setup actually comes across as a conceit that might work better on the stage than in film, highlighted by the explaination of the title with models dressing in hospital curtained spaces. Hare continues his misuse of over-orchestrated music that blighted Wetherby, even beginning the film with Nat King Cole's syrupy version of When I Fall in Love. The best scenes involve Bridget Fonda as Brown's sister, even if Fonda's character is the irresponsible uninhibited free spirit that Brown is not. (Since she is Brown's sister, we know Brown has the potential). It's a pity that Fonda is used as a character obstacle when she is the most likeable of the actors. Hare's only resonant image is a couple to be married, she in yellow and he in blue, each with an arm behind the other, as if the colours will merge into green at any moment. And he even denies us the sight of the models parading their strapless gowns in the fashion show fundraiser that ends the film. Instead he freezes behind the back of someone about to enter the catwalk."
Man wants falling in love to last forever, & his lover.
Jim Berk | San Francisco, CA United States | 04/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hare creates a man who insists on the romance that comes with falling in love to be the essence of BEING in love. His women fail him because, in despair, ``I don't need all these presents. Don't you understand? You've GOT me; we're married''. Hare fails his women because of his extravagant, reckless, obsessive focus on the relationship. Brown finally accepts him as-is, & he rejects falling in love anew and reverses, returning to her. Strapless gowns at a charity benefit are the metaphor for Brown's recognition that their love requires her to stand on her own, to have the strength to accept his love, however unusual. (This was written spontaneously and will be replaced by a more rational review.) The film needs a wider audience. The opening credits triptych is worth the price of admission alone (Nat King Cole's ``When I Fall In Love'')."
Richard J. Roberts | Indianapolis, IN USA | 07/19/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I have great respect for playwright David Hare, and I'm a big fan of Blair Brown (and Bridget Fonda too, for that matter), but despite the engaging performances of these two actresses, this movie goes nowhere, slowly. Bruno Ganz's character is too cryptic, and his performance too expressionless, to ever provide any suggestion of real love between the two leading characters. Ms. Brown plays a doctor who is smart enough to run from the altar once; but she later goes through with it just because her shiftless sister calls her a coward. Later, when he disappears and she starts paying off his gambling debts, she seems foolish, not loyal. Reviews of this film talk a lot about the political significance of the story and its commentary on Thatcherism and single women, but those writers must have gotten that mumbo-jumbo from a press release, 'cause it ain't on the screen."
Re-release June 8
David Oberst | Yellowknife, NWT, Canada | 05/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It looks like this DVD is set to be re-released on June 8/2004: http://videoeta.com/movie/28211"