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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Message In a Bottle (1999)



Reviews and Comments

I'm not much of a Costner fan, but he's ok in this romantic drama. Robin Wright Penn does better, showing a remarkably strong screen presence but an appropriate subdued one -- it isn't until after the movie is over that I realized how effective her performance was. She creates a charismatic, sympathetic character that helps the movie over some of the bumps when the story takes turns I don't really believe the characters would follow. Paul Newman has a co-starring role; unpredictably, he steals his scenes.

If only the story were convincing, this movie would have been a lot better, but I just couldn't see the characters holding the kind of bursting passions that would motivate them to do the things they do. Better dialogue might have helped; I don't know. In any case, the complete story arc -- right up to just before the end -- should be obvious to anyone after the first ten minutes. Regrettably, the part that isn't predictable is worse -- purposeless melodrama that adheres to a formula without understanding when that formula should be employed. What purpose is there to this movie? What emotional response was it trying for, and for what reason? The pieces just don't fit together well.