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Two young men, one in need of medical attention, are cryogenically frozen in the early 1960s. The two are preoccupied with the fact that the police are pursuing them to realise what they are doing. The next thing they know is that they are in a strange new world (thirty years on). Written by
It was 1962. Willie and me had been traveling through the night, running from a crime we never committed. Willie was still driving pretty good, considering he had a bullet in his body and all.
[to a dozing Willie]
Sure is strange to be driving on this side of the road...
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As I noted in my review for "Quest For Love", there are very few films in the SF/Romance genre. It is, after all, a tough combination to do right. Fortunately, "Late For Dinner" does it right.
The plot has some similarities to Mel Gibson's "Forever Young". Both are the stories of someone being the guinea pig for a cryonics experiment, only to be thawed out many years in the future when their mate has aged without them. In this case, two brothers are frozen after an accident sends them on the run, accused of murder. One is Willy, a family man devoted to his wife and daughter. The other is Frank, mildly retarded and slowly dying of a degenerative incurable disease. Frank has become part of Willy's extended family, with everyone accepting his oddities and looking out for him. The issues we care about are the love story between Willy and his wife and whether there will be a cure for Frank's disease by the time he's thawed out.
What raises this above the Gibson film is that you believe from the beginning that the romantic leads (Willy and his wife) are really in love. The relationship of the two brothers is caring without being idealized - they fight and argue, but you believe in how much they really care for one another. In "Forever Young", the characters display none of the depth of feeling that you associate with real love. Gibson's character lives in the world of Hollywood script writers where all relationships are self-gratifying and transitory, while this film is firmly rooted in the world we've hopefully all lived in at some point in our lives and would like to believe we could live in forever.
The performances are excellent - touching without being maudlin. The three principles - Brian Wimmer, Peter Berg, and Marcia Gay Harden - are all totally believable. The secondary roles don't fail us, and especially so that of Colleen Flynn as Willy's grown daughter.
All SF requires that you suspend disbelief to some degree, but that requirement is minimal here. The characters and their actions are all totally believable. What's more, they're good people - not perfect, but good. You really want things to work out for them.
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