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Reviews & Ratings for
Serendipity More at IMDbPro »

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88 out of 98 people found the following review useful:

Cusack and Beckinsale Make It Work

9/10
Author: jhclues from Salem, Oregon
8 October 2001

Magic happens, if you let it; and sometimes even fate or destiny-- or whatever you want to call it-- steps in to lend a hand. But when it concerns love, and finding that special person you're going to spend the rest of your life with, should you risk tempting fate with a test of that love or what is seemingly meant to be, or should you just follow your apparent destiny and embrace it? Such are the questions two people must face and answer in the romantic comedy/drama `Serendipity,' directed by Peter Chelsom. Jonathan Trager (John Cusack) is shopping for a gift for his girlfriend, and Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale) is looking for something for her boyfriend when they reach for the same pair of gloves on a rack at Bloomingdales. And the wheels of fate are quickly turning. Or are they? Jonathan and Sara proceed to spend the next few hours together, including a romantic interlude skating in New York's Central Park, and there are definite sparks flying between them. For Jonathan, it's a significant emotional experience, and he realizes something has happened, that something has changed in his life; Sara feels the same, but being a true believer in destiny, she needs a sign that this is meant to be before she'll consider pursuing whatever it is that's just happened between them. So she puts it to the test. And for Jonathan, knowing only that her name is Sara, it's the beginning of an odyssey-- a quest-- to find true love with the woman he already knows in his heart of hearts that he wants to share his life with. For Sara, it's the beginning of a search for love, and for that one special person she knows is destined to be her soul mate forever. They both find, however, that the path to pure love is filled with every obstacle the known universe could possibly place in their way. And is the journey worth it? Well, in the end, it all comes down to what fate has predetermined. Or does it?

In the tradition of such films as `Sleepless In Seattle' and `You've Got Mail,' Chelsom has fashioned a truly romantic tale of two people who are absolutely destined to be together, no matter what. And-- as the audience knows early on-- nothing less will be acceptable. Hanks and Ryan may be missing, but the charismatic Cusack and the beguiling Beckinsale more than make up for it, carving out their own niche in the genre with this outing, and Chelsom has just enough of that Nora Ephron touch (including the use of music, matching the perfect song with every situation) to make it work. The chances of things ever happening in real life the way they do in this movie are about twice as remote as winning the lottery, but who cares? This is a heartwarming fable about love-- about the way we `want' love to be-- and it's delivered with an endearing care that makes it emotionally involving, entertaining and a thoroughly satisfying experience. And there's not a whole lot more you can ask of a movie, I think.

Cusack is so likable, and manages to convey the bedevilment of his situation with such facility, that the viewer is unequivocally drawn in from the beginning. You want things to work out for this guy-- and Sara, as well; and, of course, you're pretty confident from the outset they are going to. But along the way they make you feel something; they enable you to share the frustration as well as the elation that comes with discovering love, and perhaps finding that better part of yourself at the same time. And the fact that Cusack makes Jonathan so believable, and someone with whom you can identify, has more than a lot to do with it. It's a quality performance from an actor with the flexibility and range to do just about anything, and who never disappoints.

The other half of the equation for success, of course, belongs to Beckinsale, who is not only beautiful, but a good actor who infuses her character with a touch of mystery and complexity that makes her winsome and interesting. Like Cusack's Jonathan, Sara is someone you can root for; you want to see her get what she wants and what she deserves. This isn't a perfect world we live in, and we all know it; but for Sara and Jonathan you want it to be. There's a chemistry between the two of them, and they make it so easy for you to project your own feelings and desires into their situation, that there's no getting around it. If they win, you win. It's that simple. And even though they take you over some rough spots along the way, it's a fun trip and Beckinsale and Cusack-- Sara and Jonathan-- make it a journey worth taking.

The supporting cast includes Molly Shannon, Jeremy Piven, Bridget Moynahan and Eugene Levy (who is terrific-- and hilarious-- as a sales clerk at Bloomingdales). A handsome film that touches all the right nerves and pushes all the right buttons, `Serendipity' has a gentle sensibility about it that addresses the notions of romance and love that reside within us all. And it's refreshingly presented in a way that is pure and inoffensive; and as such it allows you to open up and embrace something of value without having to apologize for it, and without implying you have to be `hip' to appreciate it. Because it's all about love and sharing love, which is something we can all use a little more of in this world we live in today. And that's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.





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77 out of 83 people found the following review useful:

Enchanting romantic comedy

9/10
Author: FlickJunkie-2 from Atlanta, GA
7 May 2002

This charming romantic comedy has all the right ingredients and serves up a bouillabaisse of schmaltzy romance and slapstick fun. Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet in Bloomingdales when they both want to purchase the same pair of gloves. The attraction is instant and they spend a romantic evening cavorting around New York City together. At the end of the evening John wants to see her again, but Sara decides that if it is fate that they should be together, they will find each other again. She drives away in a cab and he never sees her again. Well, almost never.

Years go by and both of them are about to be married, but each still has this nagging feeling that the other was his/her one true love. Of course fate conspires to bring them back together (after about a dozen near misses) as they each simultaneously undertake one last attempt to find one another just before they get married to someone else.

The fate angle is plowed mercilessly, almost to the point of nausea, but the skits are funny and the chemistry between Cusack and Beckinsale is enchanting. Cusack is an expert at playing the tortured and neurotic lover, but here he is more haunted and forlorn than dysfunctional, and it plays much better than his previous two characters in `High Fidelity' and `America's Sweethearts'.

Kate Beckinsale rocketed from obscurity to prominence with her performance in `Pearl Harbor' and proves to be a wonderful romantic lead in this film. She is breezy and adorable and spins a delightful web around Jonathan and the viewer. The film also benefits from outstanding comedic support from Jeremy Piven as Jonathan's best friend and devoted Sara sleuth. Piven's zany comedy proves to be the perfect complement to Cusack's wry despondency. Eugene Levy is a scream as the eccentric Bloomingdales salesman, who blackmails Jonathan into buying half the store to give him information from Sara's charge account.

All in all, this is an entertaining comedy that is insubstantial but delectable. I tend to give romantic comedies a little more slack, because I'm a sucker for this slush, and this is one of the better ones I've seen in a while so I rated it a 9/10. This lighthearted romp makes a great date flick, but if serious drama is your preference stay away.

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72 out of 81 people found the following review useful:

enjoyable escapism

8/10
Author: MsPunch from England
18 June 2004

Jonathan and Sara bump into each other while Christmas shopping in Bloomingdale's, when they both grab the same pair of black cashmere gloves at the same time. They go for coffee at a café named Serendipity which, Jonathan discovers, is Sara's favourite word. A firm believer in the power of fate, she refuses to give Jonathan her phone number – instead, she writes her name and number inside the cover of a book, which she then sells to a secondhand bookshop, telling him that if they are meant to be together, the book will find its way to him. Likewise, she makes him write his number on a banknote, which she promptly spends, telling him that if fate decrees it, the note will find its way back to her. A few years on, Jonathan and Sara are both engaged to other people, but each keeps thinking about whether the other is their true soulmate, and then they start to see signs which they interpret as the fates trying to tell them something…

This is a charming romantic comedy – a heavy suspension of reality is required, but that's surely part of the point. Sara's willingness to leave her future to fate slightly beggars belief, but Beckinsale manages to make Sara appealing enough. It's prettily shot and perfectly paced – the movie never flags but everything pitches along perfectly towards the inevitable but agreeable conclusion (it also keeps itself to a restrained 90 minutes, which seems increasingly unusual among modern movies). Cusack is, as always, utterly adorable, with more sex appeal than 100 Brad Pitts. A little bit of perfect escapism.

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47 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

A Beautiful Love Story With a Very Charming Couple

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
10 November 2003

Jonathan Tragger (John Cusack) meets Sara Thomas (the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale) by chance in the Christmas eve, in Bloomingdale's, both trying to buy the unique pair of black gloves available for sale. They decide to go to the cafeteria Serendipity and Jonathan asks for her name and phone. Sara decides to write it in a book, and his on a five dollars bill. She gives the bill to a newspaperman and she says that she would sell the book in a New York used books store. She states that if destiny wants them two together, Jonathan will get that book back. Or she will receive that bill again. From this day on, Jonathan will 'chase' Sara's book trying to reach his lost love.

I did not know the word 'serendipity'. In accordance with Webster' dictionary, it means 'an apparent aptitude for making accidental fortunate discoveries'. The character of Sara believes on it, but regrets for her belief in the end of the story. This is the typical predictable and commercial film, but supported by a very charming actress (Kate Beckinsale) and actor (John Cusack). I am a suspicious viewer to make any comment in this regard, since I love Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. But I really believe there is no way that any viewer dislikes this movie. The cover of the DVD is also very beautiful. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Escrito ans Estrelas" ("Written in the Stars")

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33 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Fortunate Accident!

9/10
Author: Han SoloN from Turkey
28 March 2005

The first time I've seen this movie, I knew I'd add it to my "classics", and here it is. Kate Beckinsale shows her talent -finally- within the movie by blending right into the act of John Cusack. Since I'm in love with these kind of movie scripts, the movie got me in its clasp as I've heard Armstrong's deep voice in the beginning. As the movie starts, the movie's philosophy starts to reveals itself through a pair of black Kashmir gloves. The fact that love will find a way through it all is buzzing all around the movie and makes you feel warmer even though it's winter and snowing. The ice skating section and the ending section on the same "floor" are wondrous moments which any people would like to live - which makes the movie closer to the audience. The thought of someone "right around the corner" waiting for you is all around the movie and makes you feel like go out and find "them". A really cute story with a good sense of humor. Deserves my 9! I just LOVE watching it!

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34 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

SERENDIPITY Charms Despite Tempting Fate and Trying Patience With Overuse of Whimsy

8/10
Author: Dorian Tenore-Bartilucci (dtb) from Whitehall, PA
8 February 2004

The plot premise, in a particularly streamlined nutshell: In holiday-season Manhattan, Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan Trager (John Cusack) meet cute and, although they both have Significant Others, they end up spending a charming and romantic evening on the town (including coffee and dessert at the aptly-named Serendipity III restaurant). Despite their obvious chemistry, Sara insists on leaving their future up to fate (she turns out to be a therapist, so you'd think she'd know better, but more on that momentarily), whereupon they get separated in the Waldorf=Astoria. Years later, Sara and Jon are both engaged to other people, but can't stop thinking about one another, so they each take a last stab at finding each other again before their respective nuptials. Knowing what a big John Cusack fan I am, a friend of mine recommended I rent SERENDIPITY. Between a parade of people phoning us and our own busy schedules, however, I had almost as much trouble getting to finally sit down and watch the DVD from start to finish as Jon and Sara did trying to get back together in the film itself! But it was worth the effort: even though I was growling at Sara under my breath for being so stupid as to leave their budding romance up to fate instead of running off with Jon when she had the chance (and was Sara so new to NYC that it never occurred to her that other people might take Jon's elevator in the Waldorf=Astoria during their decisive elevator race? Do fate and common sense have to be mutually exclusive?), I found Cusack and Beckinsale so endearing and so full of romantic chemistry (and they both looked yummy, I might add) that I found myself forgiving a lot and rooting for them to get back together. Marc Klein's script is so chock-full of funny and frustrating near-misses that at times I found SERENDIPITY as suspenseful as a Hitchcock film! :-) NYC and San Francisco locations are used wonderfully (I was pleased to see that although the second floor of Serendipity III as shown in the film was quiet enough for Sara and Jon to hear each other talk, it was still as crowded as it usually is on a holiday week! :-). Cusack and Beckinsale are surrounded by a delightful supporting cast, too, particularly Jeremy Piven and Molly Shannon as their respective best friends and the scene-stealing Eugene Levy as an officious, self-serving Bloomingdale's salesman. I also found it refreshing that the filmmakers didn't take the obvious route of making the leads' current Significant Others so horrible that you can't imagine what attracted Our Heroes to these creeps in the first place (that sort of thing always makes me lose respect for both the protagonist *and* the screenwriter). Bridget Moynihan and John Corbett (did the casting directors just stroll on over to the set of SEX AND THE CITY one day and say "Who's free to make a movie?" :-) were appealing enough that I could understand what Cusack and Beckinsale saw in them, yet they were just self-absorbed enough and not-quite-on-our-heroes'-wavelength enough that I didn't feel bad when they got dumped. If romantic whimsy is your bag, give SERENDIPITY a try.

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51 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

it can and it does happen

Author: enigma_777_f (enigma_777_f@yahoo.com) from toronto, canada
30 September 2003

Since I have always wondered about fate/destiny and the alike, it was not for one moment, hard for me to embrace this movie. To me, this movie signifies the importance of saying what you feel and feeling what you say. All to often in life people pass each other by and subsequently up all because of being afraid to feel, say, think, and of what others will think. I have tried to become more honest in my life as a result of seeing this movie.

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Through fate the power of love cannot be denied...

10/10
Author: Gary from NC
10 January 2004

There are times when you watch a movie and instantly realize you're watching something special.....this is that type of movie.What's so special you say ? Critics would probably say it's nothing but a walking cliche......Maybe...but isnt the ride always worth it ? Isnt the chemistry the whole reason we watch love stories to begin with ? The best love stories arent so much about the story as they are about what we wish romance in our lives was.Instantaneous...Tender...Magical...Hearts all a flutter.If you like good chemistry between the likeable Cusack and Beckinsale in a magical setting...prepare to be touched.I was.This is by far one of my favorite love stories,only slightly behind " Somewhere in Time " .If you expect realism dont bother -but if you want what love SHOULD be...hypnotic,mesmerizing,a heart awash a sea of tenderness...then get ready to enjoy yourself.May you all find your true love as well....

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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Pure delight

10/10
Author: robert-temple-1 from United Kingdom
13 December 2007

This is the ideal romantic film, brilliantly directed by Peter Chelsom (why does he not make more films?) and perfectly cast with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. Jeremy Given gave a wonderful performance as Cusack's friend, which greatly helps the film work. And special mention must be made of a hilarious cameo role played by Eugene Levy as the salesman one most dreads meeting at Bloomingdales in New York. (His hysterical 'don't step behind the counter!' is what we have all encountered so often with neurotic sales people. Of course, one 'understands', while laughing uncontrollably at them.) This film is funny, warm, life-affirming, ironical, strange, disturbing, comforting, and licks your face like a puppy. Its theme is the invisible tapestry and connecting threads of fate which lie behind the events of the visible world, especially as they relate to True Love. In other words, 'serendipity', or fortunate chance. Cusack and Beckinsale find each other, are eternally meant for each other, lose each other, and - well, I don't want to spoil things, - but let us say, search for each other for years, with results to be discovered by the viewer. It is all so charming and just right that rather than find another romantic film, one might just as well watch this one again over and over, with a steadily increasing and delighted smile. Above all, it is Cusack who makes this, as he is the ideal romantic male lead for such charming and elfish fare. His slightly pixie-like looks are just quirky enough, not too much to make him look truly odd, but enough to mark him on the brow as 'an innocent at large' who can have these adventures and really mean them.

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33 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful story!

10/10
Author: Robert M Gerbrandt from Barrie, Ontario, Canada
14 September 2001

A wonderful story!

Attended the Toronto Film Festival Gala Premiere last night (September 13) and must say that the film exceeded expectations. It was an excellent combination of comedy and romance with just the right amount of twist to keep you entertained and excited. Heartily recommend it to all!

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