Message in a Bottle – 1999 – English
Film directed in 1999 by Luis Mandoki, and starring Kevin Costner, Robin Wright, Paul Newman, John Savage, Illeana Douglas, Robbie Coltrane, Jesse James, Tom Aldredge, Bethel Leslie, Steven Eckholdt, Viveka Davis, Raphael Sbarge, Richard Hamilton, Rosemary Murphy, Steven Eckholdt…
Synopsis: A woman finds a romantic letter in a bottle washed ashore and tracks down the author, a widowed shipbuilder whose wife died tragically early. As a deep and mutual attraction blossoms, the man struggles to make peace with his past so that he can move on and find happiness.
Review: I love Nicholas Sparks’s writing, so I was looking forward to Message in a Bottle, especially when the book was so good. And I was really touched by the film. While it is overlong, it looks beautiful with a beguiling soundtrack and a great cast, plus it resonated with me.
The characters may be clichéd, but I could say the same for the characters in the book and in all the other film adaptations based on his work. But being clichéd isn’t necessarily a bad thing, when a character or film is written well it doesn’t matter for me. The characters for me were engaging and likable, and the story is an emotional one, with a I think genuinely poignant ending.
The script does have a strong emotional core too, the pace was purposefully mannered but rarely boring and the whole movie is beautifully directed. Message in a Bottle looks beautiful, all the Sparks adaptations do but Message in a Bottle with its stunning coastal scenery gets my vote as the most visually beautiful. The soundtrack is soothing and very beguiling, and the acting is very good. Kevin Costner is good, Robin Wright Penn is perfectly enchanting with a gorgeous smile and eyes and Paul Newman the great actor he was is splendid with a more restrained method to his acting than his usual intense persona.