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On the Beach (2000) (TV)
20 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Heartbreaker better than the original movie., 27 May 2000

A little on the long side, but the impact builds to a heartbreaking finale. Rachel Ward is spectacular as the boozy spurned woman played by Ava Gardner in the original 1959 film. This film has more emotional depth and the characters are more believably human than in that classic anti-nuclear film. However, without the Cold War raging the premise seems more imaginary than it did then, when nuclear war was an all too plausible scenario. But that puts the dramatic focus on the human story rather than the propaganda. It made me choke up a few times (but I am a softie about these things).

A sure-footed winner, 9 September 1999

Like many others who have commented on this film, I had only lukewarm interest in seeing it when it came out. I picked it up out of curiosity at the video store knowing it had received good reviews but suspecting it was the kind of conventionally sentimental movie I would find completely resistible. What a pleasure to find such a strong movie. Sure, it has a conventional basic premise and traditional plotting and is emotionally manipulative in familiar ways. But its strength is in its details--an appealing cast who seemed to have stepped out of life rather than Tiger Beat or Vanity Fair magazines; a dead-on sense of time and place; a respectful attitude toward all of its multi-dimensional characters; a multi-layered and believable story; sure-footed storytelling and solid cinematic technique. This film stands well above the pack and easily won over this cynic. My roommate, who sneered when I started the cassette, intended to watch something else in his own room but was totally caught up. Beautifully done move. Highly recommended.