I struggled with what movie I should start this series. I’ve long proclaimed “Casablanca” as my favorite of all time, but I didn’t want to begin there. I decided to browse through my eight-star films and “Message in a Bottle” caught my eye.
The 1999 release starring Kevin Costner and Robin Wright and notable guest star Paul Newman didn’t fare that well among critics and reviewers. Even IMDb users haven’t been very generous. At the time of my rating, it stood at 5.7 stars but has since climbed to 6.1.
Two of the greatest criticisms of the film were its pace and its ending, neither of which I found problematic.
This is not the only film I’ve defended against accusations of being too slow. Sometimes, a slow pace is part of the story. Kevin’s character is struggling with the unexpected death of his wife and the entire movie is wrapped around that process to one degree or another. Such a situation is an agonizing, torturous and deliberate dose of reality; it must progress slowly.
The ending, without totally giving it away, bothered a lot of people. As we approached the finale of the movie, I felt like it was taking the predictable path toward a romantic sunset, but fate tossed in a monkey wrench.
“This is a love story,” many viewers cried. “So,” I asked, “do all love stories end in the happily ever after?”
I didn’t merely accept the ending; I liked it.
On a side note, I’ve always enjoyed Kevin Costner’s work and, yes, that includes “Waterworld” and even “The Postman.” Then, this past summer, I heard two different people in different places in very different situations volunteer personal stories about what a wonderful guy he is.
One final great reason to appreciate Costner … he doesn’t do sequels.
What do you think of “Message in a Bottle,” Kevin Costner or the topic of the next Friday Flick?