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
Not screened in advance for critics. Both Richard Gere and Winona Ryder spoke out publicly against this move, saying it damned the film's credibility. MGM countered that the reason for the action was that they didn't want critics spoiling the film's "surprise" ending. See more »
When Charlotte is ice skating, Will says "The judges give it a 10! A perfect 10!" In the sport of figure skating, a perfect score is 6.0 - gymnastics is the sport where 10 is a perfect score. See more »
You don't want to die! You want to live!
You don't think I've been through this so many times? I don't want to give people hope when there isn't any!
Why not? Maybe we need hope.
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`Autumn in New York' is strictly for the masochists among us who have been yearning these past 30 years for a tedious May/December update of `Love Story.' The theme of this film seems to be that there is nothing like a romantic fling with a beautiful-but-tragically-doomed young heroine to turn an unprincipled womanizer into a Man of Virtue.
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.
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