Old Stuff

Message in a Bottle (1999)

Directed by Luis Mandoki

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT. THIS REVIEW GIVES THE ENDING AWAY! Don't read if you actually care about such things!

Sitting in the movie theater, waiting for "Shakespeare in Love," a trailer came on. Dreamy romantic music, images of oceans and bottles, then pan to Kevin Costner. A great whoop arose from the audience and then they roared with laughter... I should have taken that as my cue...

When I saw that the reviews for "Message in a Bottle" were mediocre at best, I knew I would just love this movie. Even though I was sick and tired of Kevin Costner's pompousness and bad movies, I am a sucker for a romance (and I loved Kevin in his "Field of Dreams"/"Untouchables" days).

So there I was all alone on Valentine's Day and I took myself to "Message in a Bottle".

Message in a Bottle

The movie started and I LOVED it! Theresa (Robin Wright Penn) finds the bottle and reads the letter. She falls in love with the writer word's and feelings. She searches until she finds him (Garret). And when she finds him, it's the Kevin Costner of old. Then I fell in love with him all over again. I loved the shy awkwardness that Kevin and Robin created with each other. I believed they were falling in love. I was laughing. I was crying. I was totally involved and invested in the outcome. I sat there and began to decide when I would see the film again. I've always been a repeat offender. Would I wait and sit though the next showing? Would I go the next day? Oh, boy! Another video to add to my collection and wear out!

Okay, okay, the story was a little thin, all right VERY thin. But it was Valentine's Day and the performances were great! Paul Newman was a stand out. I believed his relationship with Kevin. He was witty and there was such wisdom in his eyes.

Message in a Bottle

The message in the bottle seemed to be: "Never give up, deal with your past and love will find you." Hope, the message of this movie was Hope!

Then BAM!!!!! They killed Kevin off. There I was mushy and teary-eyed and all of sudden I realized what was going to happen. I shut down completely. I didn't care what happened to any of the characters. I was ready to walk out. Of all the movies that needed happy endings this was one. I've seen many movies with happy endings tacked on to them needlessly. "Conspiracy Theory" is a good example. I don't care what happened in the Nicholas Sparks' book. The MOVIE needed a happy ending. I walked out with people who were upset and depressed. Nice.

So, this was the message I got from the bottle: "Pull you life together and just when you see the light and a little happiness at the end of the tunnel... WAP! Life lunges up and slaps you in the face." Why bother.

Without the last 15 minutes [considering I would have seen the movie at least six times ($57) and bought the video ($19.99)], I would have paid $76.99 to see this film. With the last 15 minutes included, I would like to get my money back and be reimbursed for the three "happy ending" romance novels I had to buy to snap out of it! -- Rating: -$26.97

Copyright 1999 Kathy Gerhardt

Old Stuff