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Message in a Bottle
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Reviews & Ratings for
Message in a Bottle More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Can be appreciated at various levels

Author: Jugu Abraham ( from Trivandrum, Kerala, India
4 February 2005

The obvious attraction for a casual viewer would be the poignant love story. The writer cleverly mixes the rare attachment of two individuals, a sailor's son turned boat-maker and a beautiful, sensitive artist: an attachment of the boat-maker that that does not diminish after the death of the artist. Such strong feelings have been the core of great cinema in the past (Truffaut's "Story of Adele H", Polanski's adaptation of Hardy's "Tess," etc.). The film may pale in comparison to Truffaut and Polanski, yet the subject matter, the performances (Newman, Penn, Kostner, and Coltraine), and photography make it noteworthy.

Mexico-born director Luis Mandoki loves to film stories with strong attractions and unusual bonding ("Angel Eyes" is an example) and attract the viewer to the cinematic work by providing all-round positive connotations to the material. If you examine the film closely all characters are positive and uplifting--the varied personalities in the newspaper office, a supportive father (a well-defined father-son relationship), a strong bonding among the family of the dead artist that gradually transforms from the negative to the positive, a male child who accepts a strange new father figure without a whimper...The only negative characters shown almost as a cameo is the journalist's ex-husband who cheated on her. Mandoki seems to make a habit of picking up uplifting, candy-floss subjects. Is he playing safe or is it a Catholic upbringing (reference to "Angel Eyes") at work? As a director's decision, the storm sequence filmed entirely with music and no words raised the film above the usual films.

Mandoki as a director has potential to make great works but is evidently not a director who works to get his details right. He has filmed at locations that do not resemble the Carolinas. Yet Mandoki has a rare ability: he always picks top-notch cinematographers (Oscar nominated Caleb Deschanel here and late Piotr Sobocinsky in "Angel Eyes"). Most viewers would love the picture-postcard locations captured in the film. But I was captivated by the indoor camera-work playing intelligently with light and shadows reminding one of works like "Godfather II." For some quaint reason Mandoki's films seem to attract Razzie awards for bad acting (Jennifer Lopez in "Angel Eyes" and Kevin Kostner in this one). In both cases, I feel Mandoki did extract fabulous performances from other actors (Jim Caviezel in "Angel Eyes" and Paul Newman in this one). Perhaps the bad performances have something to do with whether an actor controls the production rather than Mandoki abilities as the director.

On the whole, the film will be remembered not merely as a great love story well told but for Paul Newman's fine performance and the intelligent indoor photography.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The book was better!

Author: hillari from Chicago, USA
23 February 2000

I read the book first, and was disappointed in how the movie turned out. The novel was extremely touching, and told equally from both of the main character's perspectives. In the film, the emphasis is placed more on Garrett's character, and even then, the story doesn't get deep enough into his heartbreak over his wife's death. The subplot about a disagreement between Garrett and his late wife's family didn't exist in the book, and adds nothing to the movie. Message In A Bottle should have had a lush, intense romantic feel about it, but it came up short.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

There was a very good thing about MIAB: Paul Newman!

Author: Stefan Tetelepta from Holland
24 April 1999

I really love these kind of love stories, movies like Jerry Mcguire meets Titanic. Well, this one has both of best worlds. A defensive man and a boat. And Kevin Costner and Robin Penn. I thought the movie started well. Kevin acted better than ever and there was drama but also humor. But then Theresa went home and from that point you know what's going to happen. I don't want to spoil the plot, but I was disappointed. About the ending, it worked before in other movies. But it had no use in this story, so I was left thinking: did they have to write this? I guess not.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A Romantic Weepy that is Neither Romantic Nor Weepy

Author: noralee from Queens, NY
8 November 2005

As a sucker for romantic movies, a Kevin Costner fan who actually liked "Waterworld," "The Postman" and "Wyatt Earp" and who easily cries at movies, I went to see "Message in a Bottle."

The only sniffles in the theater of girls and women were from one with a cold. Not a good movie. Not even CLOSE to a date movie as there's zilch to appeal to a guy.

The kind of pretty movie where you have time to speculate why Costner as a producer made the movie -- because he enjoys being a sex object so I guess it was revenge on his ex-wife somehow? Not a single romantic scene or supposedly sexy moment replays in my head.

Robin Wright Penn was luminous and manages to appear not age-inappropriate with Costner because she's very much lived-in. Paul Newman will have a second career as the ultimate Grumpy Old Man. Robbie Coltrane is wasted but he managed a fair American accent. I hate when characters die of Movie Star Disease -- even when another asks TWICE "What the heck did she die of again?" and poor Newman has to answer "She was frail." Oh for goodness' sake even in Victorian novels they had consumption!

Best was the use of Sinead Lohan's "No Mermaid," but the other music was bombastic and I hate when the lyrics of a prominently placed song don't match the action you're seeing.

(originally written 2/13/1999)

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Dear God, please can I have those 2 hours of my life back

Author: smfarnsworth from Manchester, England
22 October 2007

What a suckfest.

I was talked into watching this by my wife. She loves a good weepy-drama-rom-com type thing and this seemed to tick all the right boxes (for her). But even my wife couldn't muster up a tear - and believe me she will cry at every episode of Cold Case.

I on the other hand cried all the way through - mainly at the appalling waste of time I was experiencing but also because I stubbed my toe on the door frame as I headed to the kitchen for more beer to dull the pain I was experiencing...

A more obvious film I cannot remember seeing. Each slight bend (I can't even use the word 'twist') was sign-posted about 3-weeks before it happened. Right to the very end.

Even having Kev eaten by a CGI shark couldn't have livened up this still-born sorry excuse for a film.

It immediately goes in to my top 10 worst films of all time - straight in at position 1.

If you are thinking of renting it (or worse still, buying it), take my advice - kill yourself.

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Superb "cheese" movie with a terrible ending

Author: 851222 from Lithuania
27 August 2015

Greetings from Lithuania.

"Message in a Bottle" (1999) is a superb movie in a universe of N.Sparks. I do like his adaptations, and this one didn't disappointed me. I'm a man, but sometimes i do like to watch "these" kind of movies, they are easy to watch, easy to appreciate, easy to be he target of jokes as well. Jokes, because they are very predictable, action always takes place in North Caroline (do i want to live in there after watching almost every movie by his adaptation now!), it usually has very good actors, and "Message in a Bottle" is not an exception.

Robin Wright is perfect here, this is simply one her best performances. Kevin Costner is usual Kevin Costner, but that is not a complaint. The great Paul Newman steals every scene he is in, what a marvelous thing to simply watch him on screen - miss him so much. So the acting and actors here are superb. Story is simple but very good one for this kind of movie. But then the ending happened....

I didn't understand the ending. Don't want to spoil anything, but WHAT was he thinking??? After such a good movie (my actual vote would have been 9), the ending was such a nonsense. Could somebody explain it to me? I mean WHY?

Overall, "Message in a Bottle" is a superb movie if you like predictable but lovable love stories with great actors doing their very best. But the ending to me was a nonsense in comparing t the rest of the story. I didn't get it. If you do - this movie will be great for you. My final vote is 8/10 simply because of bad ending, overall i could have voted 9/10. And this is the 3rd movie with bad ending from N.Sparks along side with "Safe Heaven" (that revelation at the end with one of the female characters...), and "The Longest ride" (whit cheating ending). If you like N.Sparks adaptations, you should definitely watch "Message in a Bottle" - you won't be disappointed.

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In Memory of Tracy White

Author: caldwell_stacie from United States
17 December 2004

I fell in love with a man only for a brief time and due to unforeseen circumstances we parted ways. Months later he sent me this book and told me inside if I never read anything else again read this book love ya T. He died on Dec 9, 2004 shot by a cop and the book was in my glove box of my car I pulled it out 2 days ago to read the book he told me to read. I have seen the movie and I know he is sitting with me as I read the love story that ended. I am sad and always will be my knight in shining chrome didn't come get me and now even though I am in love with a wonderful man I will always wonder about the love of a man that god has now. thank you to you T I love you and will see you in my next life. your baby girl today, tomorrow and always....i miss you.

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Spread the message; watch this film

Author: Jack "Rainman" Oates
28 March 2004

Watching "Message In A Bottle" was an incredible sight to behold because it was the type of movie that cleared my mind of everything else and allowed to relax in my chair.

"Message In A Bottle" along with the writers as well as Kevin Costner, Paul Newman, and Robin Wright Penn swept me away to another place that gave me the chance to watch a brilliant film with no worries and enjoy an epic romance.

Costner, Newman and Wright Penn share the screen to tell the incredible, emotional and powerful story of one reporter's mission to locate the writer of three mysterious messages that turned up ashore.

The following events set off a tender and sweet romance between Garret Blake played by Costner and Theresa Osborne played by Penn. Also, mixed into this wonderfully crafted plot is Newman who plays Dodge, Garret's father who acts as a calming effect for his son when trying to deal with his newfound feelings about Theresa and those for Catherine, the object of the mysterious messages.

The performances by Costner, Penn and Newman seemed so natural it was enjoyable to watch actors not try so hard to do their best. I got the feeling that the actors truly cared about making this film the best they could for their fans because of the integrity and sincerity they brought to their characters.

"Message In A Bottle" was a powerful and inspirational movie to watch and will be treasured by me for years to come. In addition, it had two of my favorite actors and it gave me the opportunity to watch a brilliant actress come in to her own.

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Worst book adaptation I have ever seen

Author: Iambatfan from Lockport, NY
22 March 2004

I consider myself a huge movie fan and I rarely see movies I do not like. But when I saw this movie after reading the book I was so shocked at how different they were that I actually started making a list of all the differences. I understand that sometimes changes are necessary for an adaptation, but there were too many changes made. I strongly suggest you do not see this movie but if you do, pay more attention to the acting because it was just fine. Paul Newman, Kevin Costner, and Robin Wright Penn all captured the essences and spirits of their characters. They are the only thing good about this movie. The book is SOOOO much better. It would be more worth your time to read the book than see the movie.

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A movie with a message and a sad ending. Good part for Newman

Author: stefaan_vanbockstal ( from Lochristi, Belgium
4 November 2001

It is a very sad movie, about love and death. It made me silent, especially the end was hard. The actors (Robin Wright Penn, Kevin Costner and paul Newman) did a great job, but what would you aspect with such talented people. That the title was very good chosen because it is all about that message. Looking for love and hold it is for me the message in this film, and we have to keep this message in mind.

Newman was for me very remarkable in his part of Dodge as the father of Kevin Costner. He is still great, I hope he will make more pictures in the future.

It was a good movie but not the best that I ever saw, Splendor in the grass with warren beatty was a little bit like that and was a little bit better, but you have to see the film when you are a romantic person!

rating: 8/10 or *** out of ****

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