The newest film by director David Anspaugh stars a formidable cast of women, including Elizabeth Perkins, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathleen Turner and Gwyneth Paltrow. Based on the play written by Ellen Simon, daughter of playwright Neil Simon, it tells the true story of Simon's own painful experience of losing her husband.
Simon has clearly inherited her father's knack for comedy and the story is a tragic-comedy of sorts.
Each of the actresses delivers a good performance, although I was particularly drawn to Goldberg and Turner. Turner, in particular, hit a nerve with me. She plays the role of the rich corporate executive to the hilt, arranging all of her generous gestures through her able secretary and taking command of emotional situations from which a lesser person would shrink. Despite her irritatingly efficient and overpowering manner, you sense real love and concern prompting her actions.
This is an ambitious storyline to tackle, since the evolution of each of the women is part of the storyline. While Rebecca (Perkins), is at center stage coping with the loss of her husband, her best friend Sylvie (Goldberg), sister Lucy (Paltrow) and stepmother (Turner) each face their own issues. The exploration of Rebecca's grief and mourning could have been more authentically and interestingly presented if these other story lines were not simultaneously being pursued. Having met Anspaugh, it's evident that he is eager to present a true depiction of humanity, rather than merely entertaining audiences. The film, like Hoosiers and Rudy, is based on a true story. While the material presented may have been true, by incorporating the various stages of Rebecca's mourning process into one film - along with at least two other side stories, Rebecca's recovery appears too clear-cut, lacking spontaneity and warmth.
Despite the observation, I did enjoy the film and was truly moves during various scenes. In addition, the songs by Joan Armatrading and Toni Childs were lovely. And, Jon Bon Jovi's debut to the big screen was a success. JHe had a really captivating presence. There's a lot to see and enjoy in this film.
|Moonlight and Valentino||B-||B-|