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Has there ever been a more dour, dreary and depressing movie romance than "Random Hearts," a film that drones on for 131 grueling minutes and traps two wonderful actors, Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas, in its diabolical clutches?
Ford is a police sergeant working in internal affairs and Thomas is a New Hampshire congresswoman whose paths cross when their spouses, who are having a secret affair with each other, die in a plane crash. Drawn together by both circumstance and grief, the two begin a tentative love affair despite the many complications it sets up.
The actors do their best given the stark limitations of portraying two people overcome with despair, but the audience is nevertheless subjected to more than two hours of unrelieved gloominess. In a sense, it is a bit of a relief to see a romantic film that is not all lightheartedness and carefree silliness, but a subject as profound as the study of grief and loss on the human psyche demands a less conventional, more imaginative and serious a format than this film provides. (The brilliant film, "Fearless," from 1993 is a startling case in point). The actions of the characters often ring false as when, for instance, the two grieving spouses, sitting in a car, suddenly begin grappling in a wild sexual frenzy, a moment that elicits giggles from the audience because it is so lacking in motivation and preparation. Moreover, the film pads out its narrative by constantly cutting away to an irrelevant and wholly underdeveloped subplot involving Ford's pursuit of a murderous cop - a sideshow that results in a completely ludicrous shooting scene that undercuts the seriousness of the film's purpose.
"Random Hearts" is an obvious and, perhaps, even admirable attempt to bring a more mature, adult-oriented love story to the screen. It's a shame, then, that all involved seem to have confused dreariness with profundity and gloominess with depth.
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