Romantic drama about an aging playboy who falls for a sweet, but terminally ill, young woman.Romantic drama about an aging playboy who falls for a sweet, but terminally ill, young woman.Romantic drama about an aging playboy who falls for a sweet, but terminally ill, young woman.
Winona Ryder plays a 22-year old woman, dying of a rare heart condition, who starts up an affair with a 48-year old restaurateur played by Richard Gere (it would appear that the filmmakers have seen fit to shave a few years off both their ages). The film deals with the absurdity of Gere's seemingly ageless, Dorian Gray-like good looks (a fact moviegoers have been noting for years) in rather an ingenious way. Rather than ignoring them, it brings them center stage, to the point where it seems like virtually every man, woman and child at some point or other sees fit to remark on them. This happens so often that the film begins to take on the air of a vanity production designed for the actor's own personal benefit.
Even as a tearjerker this film isn't very effective. Neither Ryder nor Geer are particularly likable in these roles. In their first scenes, especially, both characters seem way too cloying and coy to engage the audience's sympathy. Without that initial foundation so crucial in a romantic film, we watch the drama unfold more as dispassionate observers than fully engaged participants a death knell for any film of this type. Geer's Will Keane is not only impossibly good looking but his position as a bon vivant of the Manhattan social scene he even has his picture adorning the cover of New York Magazine hurtles him into that rarefied atmosphere which makes audience empathy impossible. We don't believe for a minute that he is the cad he is supposed to be in the earlier part of the film and we find his transformation to doting lover equally incredible. As the dying heroine, Charlotte Fielding is so bland and uninteresting that she finally makes Ali MacGraw look like the Harvard student she was meant to be in the earlier film but could never convince us she was.
Three-handkerchief weepies have never exactly been my cup of tea, but even diehard fans of the genre are likely to find both their tear ducts and their tissues distressingly dry at the end of this film.
- Jul 20, 2001