Just a Degree or Two Shy of True North
Message in a Bottle
Review by Ross Anthony

No, it's not exactly like "Sleepless in Seattle." In fact, the only part that's similar is the first 20 minutes when Theresa finds the message in a bottle, it gets printed in the news and the public responds. By the way, the letter from Costner riddled in cliché (though, this might well be realistic -- he's a boatman, not a poet) wasn't very intriguing. So, if you happen to be reading this review on your way to the showing, relax ... arrive late. The first 20 minute chunk is the weakest part of the film. While I'm at it, I could have missed the last 20 as well.

Now the middle, that's pretty good. It's a delicate, fragile, gently paced love story that moves along with a subtle energy created by the abrasion of hesitation against anticipation. (Whew, get through that sentence?) In short, it's simply sweet to watch these mid-life folks experiencing that "first love" kind of awkwardness.

Kevin Costner and Paul Newman are ultimately believable as father and son. They seem so natural as family, I have to wonder if they really are. Kevin performs splendidly as a co-star in a movie that really isn't about his character (for a change). Though I have to say, the film was rather lifeless until he appeared on the screen, and then it seemed, all the other actors were revitalized.

"I'm going to go back to the big city and you're going to forget about me..."

"Yeah, every day."

Starring: Robin Wright Penn, Kevin Costner and Paul Newman.
Directed by: Luis Mandoki
Produced by: Denise Di Novi, Jim Wilson, Kevin Costner at Warner Brothers.
Rated PG-13


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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:03:26 PDT