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In "Forces of Nature," Ben Affleck stars as Ben, a repressed, buttoned-up
stuffed shirt writer who, through a series of natural and manmade mishaps,
ends up spending the several days before his impending marriage in the
company of a freespirited, totally spontaneous and liberated young woman
named Sarah, played by Sandra Bullock.
For the vast majority of the film's running time, the screenplay follows the conventions of the opposites-attract scenario almost slavishly. The script even provides Ben's fiancee with an overly-convenient replacement in the form of a now-hunky childhood friend she has not seen in years who rekindles sparks with her on the eve of the wedding.
Thus, the stage is set for the predictable true love romantic finale. But, damn, if the writers don't pull the rug out from under us and shatter the time-honored cliche. This is particularly surprising because, up to now, the film has exhibited no trace of iconoclasm in either its plot or character development. In fact, the screenplay is less a full-fledged narrative than a series of photographic montage sequences strung lazily together as Ben and Sarah engage in one cutesy situation and encounter after another. Thus, the unconventionality of the resolution comes as an even more stunning surprise than it otherwise might.
Affleck and Bullock are very appealing as two young people who complement each other's strengths and weaknesses and who learn to offer one another valuable life lessons. "Forces of Nature" emerges as one of those rare films that is, perhaps bizarrely, actually better in retrospect than in the watching.
Two days before his wedding, Ben's grandfather has a heart attack while
dancing with a stripper. Due to the delay Ben's fiancé, Bridget, flies
ahead to Savannah to make the preparations. Ben catches a plane later the
day and meets free-spirit Sarah. When the plane is in a minor crash the two
join up to head to Savannah by any way other than road, leading to one
`comic' delay after another. Meanwhile the two become a little closer and
Ben begins to doubt that marriage is for him.
I first saw this in the cinema with my girlfriend (at the time) in a fit of trying to be seen to be giving and willing to watch silly films that she wants to see. At the time I was particularly untaken by the whole film despite the odd amusing touch. A few years on she bought it on video she likes the silly films she can watch with her friends and I gave it another go. The film is sadly as poorly pitched as I remember it, it isn't light enough to be funny and it isn't well enough written to be an involving drama. However, by trying to do both it fails to do either well.
The light part is clearly indebted to `Planes, Trains & Automobiles' in it's make-up, with cross country japes and one mishap after another. However to even compare the laughs in that film with the low number in this is, well, laughable. The film tries to have some `hilarious' set pieces but none of them are more than amusing. Even the support characters who wander in and out only ever manage a few good lines. What makes this harder is the serious side to the film where Sarah has a child and an abusive husband and Ben gets nothing but advice not to marry. This element is present all the way through and makes the film much more of a drama than a comedy, but, because it wants to be funny as well, the drama doesn't really work very well.
Affleck is a non-character here and doesn't have the charisma to really involve the audience. Bullock is normally good but this is outside of her normal character and she doesn't wear the difficult edges well. The two have a reasonable chemistry that helps them through the rough patches but they don't fizz or spark together. The support cast throws up a few interesting faces who give good performances including Ronny Cox, Zahn, Tierney and a few others.
The film has been applauded for the realistic (low-key) ending which is certainly better on paper than the usual formulaic ending and on this I pretty much agree. It doesn't spoil the film simply because the 30 minutes before this are so very serious and not funny. On top of this the film also has some nice directorial touches in slow-mo rain and hail storms. However the impact of the emotional climax in a swirling wind of flower petals is rather spoilt by the really poor back projection used to carry it off.
Overall though this film is a bit of a letdown as it manages to only half work as a comedy and as a drama although it does have some nice touches that make it worth seeing as long as you know what to expect.
last nyt i stayed up to watch a movie called forces of nature.. i read
the info on my TV guide first. but instead of seeing it was yet another
chick flick and just going to bed.. i stayed up and decided to give it
a chance, and i am damn happy i did. ben affleck plays "ben" a man
about to get married and is on his way to the ceremony that takes place
in 2 days.. while on his trip he encounters numurous problems.. one of
these problems is sandra bullock's character "sarah".. instead of sarah
being the typical, clumsy yet lovable, gorgeous yet geeky female we see
in too many chick flicks.. she turns out to be an amazing complex
character that made me fall in love with the film and her. Ben also
encounters many people who discourage marriage, and after the has met
the most amazing girl i have ever seen on the screen, will he get
married or wont he?..
Amazing cinematography, a superb story line, and brilliant dialogue between characters, creates one of the best films i have seen in a while.. and i strongly advise you to watch this movie whenever u can.. or at least stay up when u see it on TV
Leon Warner-Bradshaw (age 16 and male lol)
This is a review of the DVD version of "Forces of Nature".
My wife and I rented this movie because we like Sandra Bullock, especially, and also Ben Affleck. We didn't have high expectations, except to be entertained. And we found it very entertaining and not particularly predictable. Affleck, the prospective groom, has to make his way to Savanna in two days after a plane problem, complicated by an arriving hurricane. He meets up with the ditsy Bullock, and both of them learn quite a bit about themselves.
If you watch the special features on the DVD, Bullock explains how every one you meet, even short "chance" meetings, have some impact on you, and this is a large part of what the movie tries to convey. And it does it very well. There's good acting, lots of interesting "developments", and a very good story in total. I give it 7 of 10. It is a much better movie than I expected.
The DVD picture is very well done, and the sound track likewise, with appropriate use of the rear surround channels. My only complaint? Not enough bass rumble during the lightning and thunder scenes during the storms.
July 2010 update: Saw it again, a pretty entertaining movie with a good message.
After reading the back of the video box about the "whirlwind romance" and the plot about Ben heading towards his wedding and meeting a "free-spirited" woman who teaches him how to have fun, I didn't have much interest in seeing it. It sounded extremely trite, and I'm not too interested in Bullock or Affleck either. I was very surprised at the sharp dialogue and humor. And even though every frame of this film looked like a jeans commercial, I *liked* the cinematography and hip, colorful locales. Of course the whole thing was totally unbelievable and the various events that occur are a bit overdone... but I liked it anyway. I am a sucker for road movies, so that was part of the appeal for me... traveling, different locations (the laundromat, the snack bar with the giant globe and the Big KMart at 2AM). I expected Ben's bride-to-be to be a crashing bore or uptight priss, so the audience would root for Sarah and Ben. But she was funny and sharp also, and you don't feel like the marriage would suck all the life out of Ben as it seemed to have for others in the film. All of the things Ben overhears about marriage sucking is pretty funny. I only post here about movies that make an impression on me, whether good or bad... and this one made an impression. I liked it. And no one is more surprised about that than me.
This movie seems as if someone had a cute idea for a movie, thought of two or three funny possibilities, hired a good cast, then turned the whole thing over to a really bad screenwriter and even worse director. The director filmed a screwball romantic comedy as if it were a dark, artsy film---weird camera angles, blue filtered shots, lingering, close up looks at raindrops. Steve Zahn was good, as always. Ben Affleck was charming, sweet, almost shy; he was perfect for a romantic comedy. Sandra Bullock struggled along valiantly with a character who was supposed to be zany, but whose wackiness consisted of things like madly kissing a husband she hated, abandoning her child, going on carnival rides, offering to strip for money, and bumming a ride with a fellow airline passenger. The script had very few funny lines; there was no physical comedy; it was boring. It introduced potentially funny situations, then cut them off before they could develop. To top it all off, the "twist" at the end was a slap in the face to anyone expecting a fun romantic comedy. If you saw the trailer for the movie and liked it, as I did, my advice is: don't go to the movie. It will only spoil a nice trailer.
"Forces Of Nature" got my attention from the start and didn't let up
until the end. Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock star as airline
passengers brought together by the forces of nature while Ben Affleck's
character Ben Holmes is on his way to his wedding. Maura Tierney
portrays his fiancée and she brought life to a character that was in
the background. This is the perfect set up for "Forces Of Nature"
because it seems when Ben and Sarah Lewis make progress; the forces of
nature somehow get in the way.
Maybe it's a sign that Ben is with wrong lady or maybe it's a way to let Ben think about the future. As I was viewing this film, I thought to myself Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock must have had fun making this film because it seemed that every time they were on screen together they were enjoying each other's company. One disaster after another occurred but Ben and Sarah made the best out of the situation and did a pretty good job.
One outstanding performance came from the late David Strickland in his final film role. It was unfortunate to hear about Strickland's death because his role in this film showed the world that he can act well on the big screen. I was smiling every time he was on screen because I knew I would get something special from his performance.
"Forces of Nature" is a well-written film that I found to have a lot of heart and dealt with many issues. I suggest that everyone check out "Forces Of Nature" because any and all of the Ben Affleck or Sandra Bullock fans out there will enjoy the film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Opting for a lazy Friday evening at home with a TV movie, I was mainly attracted to this title because of Affleck and Bullock, my two top favorites for the romance comedy genre (no, sorry, not Grant and Ryan). Not having even heard of this movie, and not being able to figure out why I haven't, I proceeded to discover a third reason for watching it: Maura Tierney. It is she that makes the movie work.
Let me back up a little. The chance encounter and evolving relationship between the two principal characters follow a familiar track. Even then, cliché notwithstanding, the movie was terribly funny to watch. (Also remember that I had to watch it under the barbarous conditions of constant TV commercial interruption, and with no ability to pause it at the times I wanted to). The team of Affleck and Bullock (and particularly the latter) was the reason. The role fit Bullock like a glove, and we see her at her very best. In addition to the funny parts, the `showdown' scene in which they gave each other a piece of their minds, while again quite predictable, was well acted with a good mix of fire and poignancy.
The ending, which I really like, while on the surface coming across as an unpredictable twist, was not entirely out of the blues, and here we come back to Tierney. This actress has so much unexplainable charm (at least in this movie) that subconsciously, we empathize a lot with her. But it's also Affleck and Bullock (credit to all three of them) that accomplish a delicate balance that lifts this movie a notch above its peers. The ending scene is simply beautiful.
I don't know why many people diss this movie because it's actually really
good. Who better to have than Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock? They are
perfect in their roles as "Ben" and "Sarah". But I have to say if Sandra
Bullock wasn't in this movie, it wouldn't be as enjoyable as it is. There
are a lot of laughs but not so much that it goes over the top and there is a
lot of drama in it too. It's a perfect mix. The camera angles make this
movie very unique too.
So the next time you're in blockbuster and you're contemplating on what to rent, you should rent "Forces of Nature" because it's the kind of film that will literally make you smile the whole way through.
4 Stars out of 5
I read the user comments and was reluctant to view this movie. Well I'm sure glad I went against the crowd. This is a good movie! What more could you ask for. (Sandy is great) The scene I adored is when Sarah is beckoning Ben to come and dance. If a women ever did that to me I would run to her. I really enjoyed the ending but I won't discuss that. There were enough laughs to keep it lite and enjoyable. The gay bar was a real hoot. Ben did a superb acting job doing his dance all be it Sandy does'st hurt the eyes. The one thing I liked is this movie is not a tear jerker. Most of Sandy's movies have me shedding tears like a water works. The story line surely shows that people live their lives in very different ways and that gives the movie credence. What's to not like? Easy to follow has Sandy in it what more could you want? One criticism, what did they use to put on sandy's eye makeup on a putty knife?
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