In addition to declaring that Katharine's (Lynn Redgrave) head and heart line are hopelessly fused into one "simian line", eccentric palm reader/fortune-teller Arnita (Tyne Daly) makes a ...
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In addition to declaring that Katharine's (Lynn Redgrave) head and heart line are hopelessly fused into one "simian line", eccentric palm reader/fortune-teller Arnita (Tyne Daly) makes a dire prediction: By the end of the year, one of the couples present at a Halloween party will have broken up. But will it be Katherine and her much-younger boyfriend Rick (Harry Connick Jr.); her upstairs tenants Marta and Billy or new yuppie neighbors Sandra (Cindy Crawford) and Paul? Fueled by Arnita's prediction, each of the couples begins to drift apart in a sea of doubt and distrust. Can the "divine" intervention of two well-meaning ghosts (William Hurt and Samantha Mathis) keep these earthly conflicts from erupting into multiple self-fulfilling prophecies? Written by
The New York papers hacked this poor film to bits this week. A friend dragged me in, and I expected it to be terrible.
Wrong! This is a beautiful, funny, romantic film. "Ghost" for grown-ups who watched the WTC towers crumble to dust.
WHO WOULD LIKE THIS: People on a date who are mature enough to like "Ghost"; adults in their 40s and up who want to see a film that's intelligent without being grim. Probably not for kids under 16 (unless they really like the Turner Movie Classics channel.) Has an R rating, but suitable for most people who aren't too sensitive, because most of the cussing takes place in one short scene. The only other R-type material is a few tasteful shots of couples in bed together.
THE FILM: The main characters are three couples, two roommates, and a fortuneteller who talks to her dead husband who live in Weehawken, New Jersey. The film follows the struggle of the couples to stay together; the roommates to avoid coming together; and the fortune-teller to hold to her belief that she can talk to her dead husband.
THE SCRIPT: The script is a little loose, but there is actually a plot, the characters all have real jobs (no professors, detectives, prostitutes or starship captains) and the dialogue is subtle. Moreover, all the main characters have excellent parts. The writers also got the Weehawken details right.
THE CAST: The cast includes William Hurt, Tyne Daly, Lynn Redgrave, Harry Connick Jr., Eric Stoltz and Cindy Crawford. Cameos? No. They all have real parts, and they all do a great job. (Yes, even Cindy Crawford. )
THE REAL HEROES:
Patrick Seymour wrote a gentle, moving score, and he or someone else
worked it into the film at the right moments without letting it overpower the other elements.
The cinematographer, David Bridges, made the people and houses look
haunting. He also made excellent use of the fact that Weehawken sits on a cliff across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Bridges took a lot of shots of the characters walking in front of the Manhattan skyline -- including eerie glimpses of the WTC towers. He also took lots of shots of the New York Waterway ferry boats -- the boats that spent Sept. 11 ferrying thousands of people to safety -- and corpses to morgues -- in places like Weehawken and Jersey City.
Of course, a lot of the people who died lived in houses just like the ones in this film.
The Simian Line is a sweet, peaceful film. But, without knowing what would happen to the WTC towers, the filmmakers made the first film released after the tragedy that cherishes the spirit of what was lost.
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