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A Simple Twist of Fate

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: A Simple Twist of Fate

Starring: Steve Martin, Catherine O'Hara
Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 102 Minutes
Release Date: September 1994
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Gabriel Byrne, Laura Linney, Alana Austin, Alyssa Austin, Stephen Baldwin, Anne Heche, Michael Des Barres

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

Steve Martin is at it again remaking classic stories in new, fresh, and wonderful ways. His best still is "Cyrano de Bergerac", which he called ROXANNE but which I wish he had called it simply CYRANO. This time it is "Silas Marner" and he titles this one A SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE, but SILAS would have been my choice.

As you undoubtedly remember, Silas Marner is a story about a cynical and angry hermit who has gold hidden away that gets stolen, but, as a twist of fate, he somehow gets a little girl to care for and raise in return. Martin, who wrote the excellent script, plays Silas as a more positive creature especially after he gets his little girl. Whereas the real Silas Marner story dwells on the gold, this one focuses more time on the interaction of Martin and the girl. Overall, the original Silas Marner is a morose story, but with happy parts. Martin's version is much more upbeat. Even the villains are not that awful.

This is a wonderful and realistic movie yet with a fairy tale feel to it at times. You can especially see this in the mystical and symbolic balloon episode.

The high points of the movie are the ingenuity of the script and Martin's acting. Mathilda McCann, the little girl, was played by Alana Austin (age 11), Alyssa Austin (age 5), Alaina Mobley (age 3), Callie Mobley (age 3), Victoria Evans (age 1 - 1-1/2), and Elizabeth Evans (age 1 - 1-1/2), and they were excellent. The rest of the characters, especially Catherine O'Hara as April Simon, were all good.

The major problem in the show was the miscasting and misdirecting of the villains. The rich bad guy was played by Gabriel Byrne and his evil brother by Stephen Baldwin. Byrne barely acted in his part - Zzzzz. Baldwin, who was a character you should have really hated, played him way too soft.

Copyright 1994 Steve Rhodes

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