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Sommersby
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Reviews & Ratings for
Sommersby More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Automatic tearjerker

7/10
Author: triple8 from Conn
14 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS THROUGHOUT POST:

Jodie Foster and Richard Gere have a lot of chemistry besides both being very talented people. I wanted to see this movie because the premise sounded SO interesting and it was. The film was very interesting and Foster and Gere were both terrific. It was a good movie.

I DID have a major problem with the ending. And it's not because it wasn't "Hollywood". I just thought it didn't need to end like that. It is really difficult with endings sometimes because if a movie ends to happily it can be labeled "Hollywood", and if A movie ends to sad, it can be called "manipulative." I do this all the time myself. But honestly-in this case-the ending was such an automatic tearjerker and it bothered me because while I could understand the choice Gere's character made, in some respects, I had a hard time believing he'd make it anyway. I kept thinking something would happen to save him at the end and the last scene with Foster was not how I anticipated it ending. I thought something else might happen.

I can see where the movie would stretch believability at times but my feeling is Foster and Gere were so good respectively, that they make you believe. Richard Gere is one of the most likable actors I've ever seen and Foster-she's just indescribable. The movie was really moving. Also beautifully filmed.

I'd give this movie a solid recommendation especially to any strong Gere or Foster fans or for that matter to tearjerker movie purists. You'll find more then enough to move you here.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Falls short towards the end

7/10
Author: Bjorn (ODDBear) from Iceland
21 October 2004

Gere returns home from the civil war. Trouble is everybody believed him to be dead and his wife notices some things about him that just don't seem right. Some anatomical inaccurisies pop up and he just seems to be a completely different person. Could this man be an impostor?

This is one of those good romantic films that falls short just towards the end. For most of it's running time the film plays out very well. Gere and Foster have excellent chemistry, the story is intriguing and well written. The overly sentimental conclusion and bad ending really hurt the film.

It's really a shame, this one had the potential of being outstanding.

7 out of 10

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

This film's a keeper

Author: Beaucoul
21 February 2004

I have seen this film several times and have always enjoyed it immensely. It's one of those films that plays like a novel. The story is intriguing and suspenseful, like one of those page-turners you can't put down. It's also an excellent character study, about real people with real emotional conflicts. The two principal players, Jodie Foster and Richard Gere, are excellent in their roles, providing nuanced and subtle performances, and generating some intense chemistry between them.

What sets this film apart though is the directing. If I were teaching a film class in direction, I would use this film as a highly-skilled example of the craft. Jon Amiel was able to draw excellent performances, not just from his two leads, but from the supporting cast as well. The film moves from one scene to the next with a seamless ease that helps draw you in to its complex story. Unease and menace are skillfully used in counterpoint to the burgeoning relationship of the two leads. And the story is resolved well, providing a path to redemption for a fallen man, and creating a mythic hero in the process.

Without revealing any more I will just say that for me, this movie is a treasure. I hope I've piqued your curiosity enough to induce you to discover its hidden assets.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Great Story, Realistic Emotionally But...

10/10
Author: snowravyn from California
14 June 2002

... there are just a bunch of historical errors. The time Jack was kept in the Union prison... well, there was no Union prison when he was supposedly to have been there among other mistakes. Being a history lover sometimes makes it difficult to enjoy a beautifully written movie.

Besides that, everyone played their roles very well. Never a big Foster or Gere or anyone's fans, I was touched by the characters. Foster's joy of the return of a 'better' Sommersby, lost when the truth was known. Gere's tenderness towards 'his' wife, kids, neighbors. Pullman's jealousy of Sommersby's return and then silent acceptance & defeat of the love lost. The movie opened during the time when Hollywood scripts were filled with mistakened identities & the likes yet this movie stands out because the realistic emotions depicted - the yearning of the return of a loved one at war, the denial to suspect a 180 degrees change of a husband returned... well, I'm only allowed 1000 words here so I'll end here for you to enjoy the film.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

France 10 vs Hollywood 3. Just another failed remake.

3/10
Author: vitaleralphlouis from United States
24 September 2005

Almost every time Hollywood cribs from foreign classics to make a bad imitation with an American setting it's like making French gourmet cuisine with a Mickey Dee mentality. Not as much of a disaster as Paul Newman in THE OUTRAGE, it's just simply that the remake lacks the gusto that made the original special. The same rule applies to current remakes of Hollywood classics. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN is highly respected only because almost nobody back then had the chance to see Kurasawa's original SEVEN SAMURAI; high on the list of 250 all time great films. Anticipate disaster with this year's release of the KING KONG "remake."

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Never Reaches Its Potential.

Author: tfrizzell from United States
6 July 2002

Eerie little would-be-romance that staggers far too much to be interesting. Jodie Foster believes she is a Civil War widow until her husband (Richard Gere) returns one day. But Gere has changed so much that everyone, including Foster, question whether he really is who he says he is. A film that could have been so suspenseful and thought-provoking becomes trivial due to sorry pacing and a screenplay that roams way too much at the most distressing times. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

DUMB MOVIE!

Author: (tomcruisemissionimpossible2@hotmail.com)
1 January 2001

The movie was very boring, and unrealistic. Dumb ending. Jodie did not have enough lines to let her talent shine. I really found the movie to be way too long, and like about nothing! The whole movie is about Richard and Jodie's character's love for each other and the stupid identity thing. DUMB MOVIE!

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Surrealistic story overcomes realistic medium

7/10
Author: critical_reference from New York, NY
19 March 2002

I really was skeptical about this movie. It seemed it would be another good imaginative story that failed because Hollywood relies on crystal clear "realistic" film-making. But the film did work for me. After awhile, I was comfortable with these people's acceptance of this man as Jack Sommersby. And if you can more than you ever hoped for by just believing...well, it's definitely a great date flick.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Shaky editing but otherwise great

8/10
Author: sdl-2 from Waltham, Massachusetts
20 June 2000

Sommersby is an extremely well-acted, very moving film that suffers from occasional strange editing cuts, where crucial plot material was obviously removed or left out for some reason. But Jody Foster and Richard Gere give such great performances that it almost doesn't matter.

It's so rare to see Hollywood tackling the difficult themes that drive this movie (identity, redemption) that Sommersby is worth seeing just for its novelty. Another underrated gem.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Oh, the dilemma!

9/10
Author: Laurel (relestcr@aol.com) from Chicago
13 January 2004

Here is the story of a man whom you both love & hate. You can't quite hate him because he gives the slaves land, but you can't quite love him, either, because of who he was before. He changed, to be sure, & you understand why he lied, but it's hard to accept that he would pretend to be someone he is not. In the end, you forgive his lies when he makes the right choice that allows the slaves to keep their land. This film makes you think about right & wrong, honesty & lies. Sometimes, there is more honor in lying, as this film displays.

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