Skip to main content

Message in a Bottle (1999)

Message in a Bottle. Feature film. (1999, 131 mins) IMDB

...Here's where I wanted to see a Hollywood ending and was greatly disappointed....


so much wanted to enjoy this movie and there are some moments but, well, there are lots of buts.

A bit about the story. It's a romance, a dramatic one, not a romantic comedy. I don't think there's a comic moment in the film.

Costner plays a shipwright on the southern east coast of the US. He was married at one point, to his true love, in his words, his true north, but she died. He wallows in his grief and at one point he typed up love notes to her, stuffed them into bottles and tossed them into the Atlantic ocean where presumably the Gulf Stream carried them north where on a Cape Code beach our other love interest played by Robin digs the bottle out of the sand.

She's a divorced single mom. They are both in the late thirties or early forties. She's captivated by the love notes and begins a search for the mysterious lover. Since she's a researcher at the Chicago Tribune (convenience) she tracks him down, visits and falls in love all over again.

He's not so sure because he hasn't let go of his wife. That's the battle. He has to let go of the past and move on to this present situation and he does until he finds out what brought them together. They had a good thing going until he finds the bottles and messages and newspaper coverage and leaves her. They had to split and do.

His transformation is shown with a boat he started working on with his late wife, but stopped building with her death. With someone new in his life, he gets back to building it and launching it and sets sail for Chicago (it's possible), but tragedy strikes and we have a lame, "heroic" ending.

The ending is such a downer, it destroys our sense of hope. This was supposed to be a Hollywood film, but I guess they filmmakers weren't aware of Hollywood endings. I'm not for or against Hollywood endings, but the ending must fit the story and in this instance our hero dives from his sailboat during a raging storm in the Atlantic, in winter. It's a crazy thing to do and he does it for no reason. There is no reason he should dive into the water.

I also found a great of the dialogue between the two, especially early on, to be adolescent. It was as if they were bashful, thirteen-year olds at a school dance in the gym. Not what you'd expect for adult romance.

And from the hard to believe folder, it's hard to believe this film is ten years old. And more incredible that Paul Newman is gone. We knew it would come, but, well, he is one of my favourite film stars. Cary Grant ranks number one and Newman is probably number two.

Posted 2009/02/08 at 20h01ET in Movie Commentary.


Popular posts from this blog

Day 109: Writing a Novel—The Deep Blue Hold

Sunday, March 6, 2017 Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments.
At 18:47 Office ... I barely remembered anything about this story... H as it really been three months? I guess it has. I put it out of my mind [so much so] that I barely remembered anything about this story. Not even the title. [Unreal!!!!!!] I had the general premise and an ending—enough I thought for a novel. What I lacked was a determination and desire to want to write it. Why bother… I wasn’t enjoying the process and I had no reason to believe the result wouldn’t be anything more than what’s gone before—nothing.
James Piper Kitchener, Ontario Post comments on facebook page. Follow me on twitter. Posted 2017/04/14 at 14h02ET in The Deep Blue Cage | Writing A Novel

Words: Fairy—Ferry

Thursday, September 6, 2012
A homonym.
FAIRY—A fairy tale. A fairy godmother. Fairy—not a long, long way to run.
FERRY—A boat or ship to transport drunken Swedes back home from Copenhagen. It’s the Danish beer.
Fairy Ferry Samantha the Swimming Fairy by Daisy Meadows Evening Ferry by Katherine Towler
Posted 2012/09/06 at 5h02ET in Words, Writing.

Day 2: Writing a Novel—The Deep Blue Hold

Friday, November 18th, 2016 Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments. ... There’s also poetic justice for this crew for what they did to the women they kept.... I t’s still Friday to me. [Writing early Saturday morning.] I wasn’t in bed until 6h and up at 14h. Then lots of errands. Lots of walking. Felt tired earlier—something different. I haven’t spent much time thinking about this story. I seemed to have put my mind into another lane. Not what I want. I was thinking too much about my future as a successful writer. Not simply being a writer, but a successful writer. One that makes a good living off or from it. That’s a better goal. So what to say about this story. No title. Oh. I did decide on something. She can’t die. Too much of a downer. That would seem to rule out a revenge aspect by the husband. Maybe she does it. These guys [the baddies] have to get it in the end. I was thinking about how she wants to sink the s…