Message In A Bottle

"OK"

Message In A Bottle Review


About 75 percent of "Message In a Bottle" is waiting for theother shoe to drop.

Robin Wright Penn plays a Chicago Tribune researcher whobecomes fixated on finding the author of a grief-filled love letter setadrift at sea. By the time she meets him, the letter has done a numberon her heart and she falls in love quickly with the achingly widowed, middle-agedsalt, played by a Kevin Costner, and spends most of the movie trying tofind the right moment to say "Hey, I read that letter to your deadwife that no one was ever supposed to see."

For me it was hard to overlook the fact that, from a journalismethics point of view, she should have told him right off the bat sinceher trip to his North Carolina fishing town was, in part, job-related --after finding the letter on the beach, she gushes over it at the officeand it finds it way into print, spawning a huge response from the lonelyhearts crowd.

But this incessant anticipation, which must inevitablylead to Costner hitting the roof when he discovers his correspondence inher dresser drawer, is forgivable when upstaged by a powerful cast.

Penn gives a extraordinarily natural performance. Honest,compelling and fervent, even her breathing changes subtly when she is overcomeby emotions she did not anticipate. She understatedly carries the movieand I can't think of any other actress who would have been better for thepart.

Costner is in the kind of role that brings out the bestin him, as a hesitant and heartbroken husband content to spend his dayspining for his dead wife, until he meets Penn and isn't at all sure whatto do with his sentiments. His deliberate restraint and serious-but-winsomeromanticism is as engaging here as it is in all his most memorable roles,like "Field of Dreams" or "Bull Durham."

And as the comic relief and voice of experience, Paul Newmanis perfectly cast as Costner's father, a charmingly grouchy, reformed drunk.He would be an Best Supporting Actor shoo-in had this movie been releasedtwo months ago.

Based on a 1998 best seller by Nicholas Sparks, "MessageIn a Bottle" is an adult romantic drama about coming to terms withlove and loss, and finding one's peace with the world. Gently manipulativeand beautifully structured, director Luis Mandoki ("When a Man Lovesa Woman") manages to avoid succumbing entirely to the chick flickundertow, even in Lilith Faire love scenes with moonlit close-ups of kissesand hands on golden skin.

He keeps the galloping metaphors fairly bridled, as well.Costner, who restores boats for a living, sails to clear his head and aftermeeting Penn begins working on a custom boat he'd abandon after his wifedied.

Thanks to Mandoki's balance, none of this emotional machinationinspires the kind of eye-rolling witnessed in recent, pointed tear-jerkerslike "Stepmom" and "Patch Adams," even when he does doubles up on the hankie-wringingfor a last reel of emotional spiraling.

Uncharacteristic contrivances, such as our heroine's excruciatinglyslow recognition of Costner's obvious emotional baggage, and a severalflagrant journalistic credibility problems dog "Message In a Bottle."But ultimately Mandoki's transporting direction, Caleb Deschanel's fluidseacoast cinematography and the stars' sensitive molding of their hesitantlovers preempt the film's problems and give "Message" a movingcurrent that sweeps the audience along even as we take note of its imperfections.



Message In A Bottle

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Friday 12th February 1999

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures, Bel Air Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 32%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 26

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Garrett Blake, as Theresa Osborne, as Dodge Blake, as Johnny Land

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

Advertisement
England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.