Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1999. Bel Air Entertainment, DiNovi Pictures, Tig Productions. Screenplay by Gerald Di Pego, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. Cinematography by Caleb Deschanel. Produced by Kevin Costner, Denise Di Novi, Jim Wilson. Music by Gabriel Yared. Production Design by Jeffrey Beecroft. Costume Design by Bernie Pollack. Film Editing by Steven Weisberg.
Poetic cinematography and an unapologetically hammy romantic feel will go over extremely well with those in the mood for melodrama. Robin Wright is excellent as a single woman who discovers a bottle on the beach with a letter inside. After much extensive research she traces the bottle back to a seashore-abiding widowed artist of sorts (Kevin Costner) and they fall rapturously in love. Unfortunately, his past is a problem (isn’t it always) and she must help him confront his demons about his wife’s passing and his relationship with her family since her death. The great acting and the direction by Luis Mandoki (who is perfectly suited to this kind of material) keep the film from ever feeling like a Harlequin romance novel, but in the end it doesn’t add up to much more than that.