Message in a Bottle

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Message in a Bottle 1Message in a Bottle (1999)

Directed by Luis Mandoki

Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks

Screenplay by Gerald Di Pego

Starring: Kevin Costner, Robin Wright, Paul Newman

While in Cape Cod, researcher Theresa Osborne finds an emotional letter in a bottle on the beach. When she locates Garret Blake, the author, she begins to get close to him. Garret is a shipbuilder, living close to his father in their small town. As Theresa and Theresa grow closer, the pain in his past begins to reveal itself. Now, Theresa is unsure of how to reveal her knowledge of the letters or the painful events behind them.

Message in a Bottle 4This movie is the first of ten films based on Nicholas Sparks’ (A Walk to Remember) work. The story was adapted by screenwriter Gerald Di Pego (Phenomenon). Director Luis Mandoki (When a Man Loves a Woman) was chosen to lead the way with this interesting story of romance and loss. The cast for the film is a great blend of talents including Kevin Costner (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), Robin Wright (Forrest Gump), and Paul Newman (The Sting).

Message in a Bottle 3The writing for this movie is good, but unfortunately seems to gloss over some major points in the story. There are some great moments in the film, where the dialogue seems to feel natural and compelling, but overall the story falls pretty flat. the major issue is the lack of information on the back stories of the people involved. While a certain amount of information should’ve been withheld, Di Pego chose to eliminate any explanations until there were too many holes to go back and fix.

Message in a Bottle 2The acting in this movie works about as well as expected with the poorly written screenplay. Paul Newman is always fun to watch, making his role one of the brighter moments in the film. Costner is also good, despite the negative reviews of his work. I think the weakness of the performance came down to a lack of material to work with. Robin Wright is also good, but once again doesn’t get the material needed to help this one out.

Message in a Bottle 5From a visual standpoint, the movie is nicely made. The settings were chosen wonderfully, and really highlight the ocean background of the story. Unfortunately, the movie also runs at over two hours, making the pace very slow. The score is also good, but once again doesn’t leave much to talk about. Like the rest of the film, these aspects are passable, but not anything that will bring me back to watch this again.

This is a movie that seemed to fall short of potential. Having not read the book, I can only imagine what depth the story might have had. The acting is good, and I would still suggest this to anyone who loves the stars. Otherwise, this is one you could easily pass by for something with a little more depth and a better foundation. I give this one 2.8 out of 5 stars.

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 131 minutes

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