Forty-eight year old Will Keane is a successful restaurateur and serial womanizer, his reputation generally preceding him. When he is introduced to twenty-two year old Charlotte Fielding by Charlotte's grandmother, Will's old friend Dolly who he has not seen in years, there is a mutual but slow to acknowledge attraction. After their first date, Will and Charlotte agree that their relationship will never progress to one of a long term standing, but for different reasons: while this is Will's somewhat standard modus operandi, Charlotte announces that she has a terminal heart condition. Charlotte's admission makes Will look at this relationship differently, he being told by his best friend John that if he is going to continue to date Charlotte that he better treat her well. Their relationship does end up being different than both expect, for Charlotte which could mean a change from her current "let me die in peace" attitude to want to fight for her life. And Will's time with Charlotte is... Written by
Slow and somber, muted and subtle, Autumn in New York isn't like most movies.
Set against a backdrop of pastels and shades, this sad yet engaging story about doomed love is full of symbolism and metaphor revolving around renewal and decay, second chances and confronting one's past, and hearts on the mend both spiritually and physically.
Winona Ryder plays Charlotte Fielding, a young woman blessed with simple good looks but stuck with a faulty heart that threatens to limit her days. Richard Gere plays Will, an older man whose years of toil in the restaurant business are starting to pay off.
Will suffers from an ailment of a different kind, an inability to stay true to his woman, something that tends to hurt others more than himself. As it turns out Will once even dated Charlotte's mother only to cruelly jilt her by seducing her best friend.
Ever the womanizer, Will can't help himself, and when they meet one night, he hatches a plot to woo Charlotte. Already giddy at his very sight, Charlotte is easily swept off her feet and is soon in love.
Alas, Will hasn't changed much. When Charlotte intuitively discovers that he's been cheating, their relationship hits the rocks. Only this time Will does feel bad and finally tries to break out of his pattern of deceit.
Meanwhile, his notoriety as a restaurant owner turns into something of a two-edged sword as the daughter from the woman he seduced then spots his photo on a magazine cover and tracks him down.
What follows is Will's efforts to not only put the pieces back together but create a future that both he and Charlotte can share. The trouble is, it could also mean some very radical surgery that Charlotte may not survive.
Although set in New York, it could just as easily have played out in a small northern British Columbia town as the six degrees of separation rule very much applies. In fact, it's Charlotte's grandmother who introduces the two, despite knowing all to well how Will treated her daughter.
Don't expect any car chases, fireball explosions, or over the top special effects. But do expect a movie that is splendidly shot in hues of orange and yellow, green and grey, and opts for opaques and shadow over bright and blinding.
And while the pacing is as slow as molasses, Autumn in New York nonetheless seeps deep into the psyche and remains there all season long.
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