Sweet November

"Good"

Sweet November Review


"Sweet November" may be a work of romantic hokum about a savage power-yuppie who learns to slow down and discover love in the arms of a quirky, perky girl with a tragic secret -- but as such sappy movies go, this is one that hits all the right notes.

Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron proved they have couples chemistry as husband and wife in "The Devil's Advocate." Here they do the opposites-attract thing with great success and use their charisma to overcome what by all rights should be a script full of romantic clichés.

Reeves plays shallow, ruthless, arrogant ad industry hotshot Nelson Moss, who shows his astronomical self-centeredness in the picture's opening scene. It's early morning and he's having sex with his girlfriend -- until his alarm clock goes off. The second it does, he says "thanks, that was great" before jumping up, walking across his uber-modern high-rent loft, turning on his entire wall of high-tech TVs and brainstorming an ad campaign for a major client.

Theron plays Sara Deever, a San Francisco "free spirit" who has a strange habit of taking in stray men who are psychological fixer-uppers. She moves them into her North Beach apartment for one month, uses her unexplained gift for metaphysical bandaging to set them right, then moves on to the next fella.

When these two meet during a debacle at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Sara immediately sees in Nelson her most challenging project yet and begins hassling him to move out of the Sharper Image condo and into her funky, low-rent walk-up for 30 days.

He, of course, thinks she's nuts. But when he loses a multi-million dollar account (by proposing a highly sexualized campaign for a family-oriented hot dog company), gets fired and his much-neglected girlfriend moves out -- all on the same day -- he succumbs to Sara's badgering. He figures, at least for the moment, he hasn't anything to lose.

Theron is perfectly cast as the effervescent Sara, who seems to have double-dipped in the joie de vivre. She completely inhabits her character's contagious carefree charm, making the audience fall in love with her even faster than Nelson does. Theron provides the character an esoteric depth, giving her man-a-month habit a nagging feeling of desperate compulsion.

She's also the ideal foil for Nelson's funless, judgmental glibness. Sara can so easily and cheerfully slap his ego down that she makes him nervous. She's the kind of grown-up girl who does cartwheels on the beach while he watches with his hands thrust misanthropically in his pockets.

Reeves, who has become much better at picking roles that suit him, fits well into Nelson's supercilious skin. He really turns on the hubris in the scenes that lead to him getting fired. He also does a fine job projecting the unaccustomed abashment Nelson feels when Sara takes charge of his life.

As their month together progresses, his transformation into a stop-and-smell-the-roses guy under her tutelage is altogether quite winning. Too bad he's so unconvincing when it comes time for this movie's "you complete me"-type romantic climax.

But director Pat O'Connor ("Circle of Friends," "Inventing the Abbotts") never lets the movie's hackneyed conventions (Nelson revisiting his unhappy childhood, Sara's gay best friend) steamroll over the magnetism between his stars.

Romance movie protocols are followed (a passionate argument in the rain, a bubble bath for two), but seasoned with a touch of imaginative enthusiasm. Dialogue is amusingly sassy, but not overindulgently clever. O'Connor even keeps the story's fateful, tearjerker plot turn on a short leash, playing the heartstrings obligingly but tenderly.

"Sweet November" (which, by the way, is a remake of a 1968 movie of the same name) may have an obvious story arc. It may, at its core, be a textbook chick flick punctuated by a soundtrack of smoky-voiced girly alt-pop anthems (Enya, Stevie Nicks, Paula Cole, k.d. lang).

But it is sweet. It is eminently romantic, warm and satisfying. And even if Keanu's heart-rending tears in the last reel look suspiciously like special effects, this is a movie likely to inspire the real thing in the softies in the audience. And even we cynics will feel a little warm and fuzzy when the credits roll.



Sweet November

Facts and Figures

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th February 2001

Box Office USA: $24.4M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Bel Air Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
Fresh: 15 Rotten: 81

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Pat O'Connor

Starring: as Nelson, as Sara, as Chaz, as Vince, as Angelica, as Brandon, as Edgar Price, as Raeford Dunne, as Abner, Jason Kravits as Manny, June Carryl as Beatrice, Kelvin Han Yee as Burly Man, as Homeless Person, Diane Amos as Rachel, Coffee Shop Waitress

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.