Row Your Boat (1999)
User ReviewsAdd a Review
Set in New York and dealing with an ex-con's struggle to go straight, this is a sweet, intelligent and moving film. Its central motif is the tragedy of the predicament that Jamey Meadows finds himself in - thoughtful and compassionate, his attempts to re-build his life are pushed down at every stage by his circumstances. The issues of the poverty cycle and the corruption of the vulnerable by the very people who should be protecting them are handled with care and insight, but without the cloying sentimentality so common in modern American cinema. Superbly written, though sadly poorly edited, this is a beautiful look at the struggle between idealism and practicality in today's world. This may sound heavy, but the script is peppered with humor and delivered with a lightness of touch that renders this a thoroughly enjoyable movie.
The cast are commendable, both as individuals and as an ensemble, and the responsiveness of their performances in their interactions with each other lift this movie above the ordinary. Bai Ling's performance is a perfect balance of vulnerability and spiritedness, full of childlike innocence and wonder yet at the same time worn down by the seeming inevitability of life's disappointments. The biggest surprise however is Jon Bon Jovi as Jamey Meadows. Some of his other performances have been stilted and unresponsive, and even his well executed turn in The Leading Man falls short of being truly impressive due to his character's marked similarity to his own public face. In Row Your Boat, on the other hand, Jon Bon Jovi shines. A man of commanding presence and charm when fronting his rock band, Bon Jovi is utterly believable here as a slightly awkward down and out dominated by his older brother. His responsive and committed interactions with the other cast members are what set this performance apart from his others, and credit must be given to the director for drawing out such an impressive performance where other directors have failed.
In all, a gem of a movie which has sadly been overlooked. Its limited release is a real shame.
It's definitely a movie worth watching.
Don't you ever advise anyone not to see a movie, whatever movie it is, for how bad it is.
Movies are made to be seen by everybody, my friend. Worst than your comment is people who refuse to see movies based on others opinions. If you don't want to give money to see it in a theater, fine. And, god, it's an independent movie! As if movies without budget weren't discriminated enough in the cinema business, there are still people that come and say "Oh, I've seen it. S****, don't watch it! It's a friendly advise!" Hope you're not related to cinema in any way. If I judged every movie by the crew and their personal life's, wouldn't likely see most of Collin Farrel's starring ones!
The ones to thank you for that unfortunate comment are ignorants.
A very New York movie, kind of a "Mean Streets" love story. Bon Jovi plays an ex-con trying to get his act together; Bai Ling plays the unhappily married immigrant he falls for. William Forsythe is good as Bon Jovi's criminal brother. Jill Hennessy is funny & sexy (great wig!) as the girlfriend.
Some violence, and an unexpected ending I didn't see coming; also, some very droll, drily funny scenes with Bon Jovi's character as a census taker dealing with wacky New Yorkers - look for the corpse scene!
The strongest part of the movie is the love story between Bon Jovi's 'Jamey' and Bai Ling's 'Chun Hua' - which starts as a romantic comedy. Very funny dialogue in the teaching-her-English scenes.
All in all, a satisfying, gritty movie with strong relationships and a dire, unexpected plot twist. Worth a look!
Although is hard to believe that the rockstar Jon Bon Jovi could be a homeless man coming out of the jail, when he starts the romance we all believe that there's the guy who wrote "Always", "Never Say Goodbye" and "I'll be There For You". Jon is always better when he does the loser characters (like "Destination Anywhere" or "Pay It Forward").
I think people should give a chance to this one.