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Message in a Bottle

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Message in a Bottle

Starring: Kevin Kostner, Robin Wright
Director: Luis Mandoki
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 110 Minutes
Release Date: February 1999
Genres: Drama, Romance

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Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

If you're an incurable romantic, this is the love story you've been waiting for. If you're a cynic, this one's not for you. Based on Nicholas Sparks' book, adapted by Gerald DiPego, lushly photographed by Caleb Deschanel, and directed by Luis Mandoki, the plot revolves around two lonely people. Robin Wright Penn plays a divorced single mom who works as a researcher for the Chicago Tribune. While on vacation alone in Cape Cod, she finds a bottle containing a beautiful, poetic love letter from a man to a woman named Catherine. The signature is simply "G" but she tracks down the sender. He's Garret Blake - a.k.a. Kevin Costner - a sailboat builder who lives on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Since the death of his wife Catherine, he has led a sad, solitary existence - until Penn appears, literally, on his doorstep. Inexplicably, she doesn't tell him she's found his missive in a bottle. She's scared of being honest, afraid to trust. So she pretends she's just a tourist interested in sailing, and they begin a gentle, tender romance, complete with moonlit marshmallow fights, while the audience waits for the inevitable confrontation scene in which he discovers the truth and turns on her. Handsome, smiling Paul Newman, as Dodge, Costner's sassy, caustic, irascible father, deftly steals the picture, in one scene muttering, "If I was about 150 years younger, you'd be in trouble, young lady." Indeed, he has far more charm than Costner , who balefully underplays an underwritten role. Is it cliche-ridden, maudlin and manipulative? Without question, particularly the conclusion. Will you cry? Undoubtedly. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Message in a Bottle" is a sweet, hearts 'n' flowers 6. Spun-sugar mind-candy for Valentine's Day.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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