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SERENDIPITY, 2001
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  MOVIE POSTER SERENDIPITY, 2001
Movie Reviews

Directed by: Peter Chelsom

Starring: John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Bridget Moynahan, Eugene Levy, Lilli Lavine

Review by Travis Seppala

SYNOPSIS:

Two people meet in New York City by chance and fall in love over the next couple of hours, only to be separated by that same fate. Seven years later when both are about to get married, they return to the place they met in hopes that fate will bring them together again. REVIEW:

“Serendipity” is a classic love story. Ok, so it's a “chick flick”... but it is, in my opinion, the single greatest chick flick ever made. And on top of that, it stars one of my favorite actors of all time- John Cusack.

Johnathan and Sara meet in New York City in a Bloomingdale's when they both grab the same pair of gloves to buy for their significant other as a Christmas gift just before the store is about to close. Feeling a mutual attraction, they decide to get ice cream together at Serendipity III. They part ways after their ice cream, but minutes later each of them realizes they forgot something behind and are reunited in front of the restaurant. Figuring this to be a stroke of fate rather than coincidence, they decide to continue to get to know each other by going out on the town together and end up ice skating and bonding.

At the end of the night, when trying to decide what the next step should be, they decide to swap phone numbers. Sara writes hers down on a scrap of paper, but when a large truck drives by her number gets swept away in a cloud of scraps of paper. She takes this as a sign that they aren't meant to go any further and tries to leave, but Johnathan convinces her to try again. She has him write his number on a $5 bill which she immediately spends, saying that if and when she gets that $5 bill again it'll be fates way of telling her to call him. In repose, she writes her number in a copy of the book “Love in the Time of Cholera” and sells it to a used book store saying if he ever finds the book it's fate telling him to call her. Wanting something more tangible, they decide to try one last thing... they go to a hotel and each pick an elevator and decide if they choose the same floor then they're meant to be together right now. They both DO chose the same floor, but at the last second a child gets into Jonathan's elevator and hits all the buttons. By the time he gets to the floor he and Sara chose (23), she's already gone.

Flash forward 7 years. Jonathan is engaged to Halley and Sara is proposed to by her boyfriend Lars. As it gets closer to their wedding dates, each of them get cold feet and decide to go back to New York City in hopes of finding each other again.

Jonathan and his best friend Dean take the task like detectives, tracking down Sara's movements through the years after Jonathan finds the old receipt from the pair of gloves. This gives them lead after lead until they finally find Sara's house where Sara's sister is making out with a guy, but Jonathan assumes it to be Sara and feels defeated.

Sara, meanwhile, makes the trip with her best friend Eve. Their plan is to visit each of the places Jonathan and Sara went together on their date in hopes that Jonathan may somehow show up. Along the way they meet Sara's old friend from college, Halley (Jonathan's fiance) who invites them to her wedding (it's never mentioned who the groom is). In defeat, Sara and Eve drown their regret in ice cream at Serendipity III before leaving New York. Unbenownst to them, their $5 change from the restaurant has a phone number on the back...

“Serendipity” utilizes the theme of fate very well in this film with its many interconnected twists and turns including the classic just-missed-them scene where two people are looking for one another and one leaves a location just as the other is arriving but without noticing each other. The story is great too (not just its use of just-missed-them gimmicks). While a part of me knew the two characters probably wouldn't find one another again until the very end of the movie, I kept waiting for them to spot one another and have the movie turn more in the direction of how they'd break it off with their significant other rather than just the clue-searching movie it was. But don't get me wrong, it was a GREAT clue-searching movie!

The acting is brilliant. Granted, I might be a bit biased since John Cusack is one of my all-time favorite actors, but he really did a superb job in this film, as did Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Pivon, John Corbett, and Molly Shannon. The only actor I didn't like was Bridget Moynahan who played Jonathan's fiance, Halley. Luckily, she didn't have much screen time.

The editing, cinematography and music all play so well together in this film that it's hard to separate one from the other. They really set the tone of the film together as a type of holy trinity that works perfectly in sync with one another making this movie really stand out.

“Serendipity” has it all- cool story, nice camera work, great acting, enjoyable soundtrack and superb editing. When you add all these components up and have them mesh so perfectly with each other, you get a great chick flick, one that I feel was highly underrated when it came out so much so that I'm often hard pressed to find anyone else who's seen this movie. But they should see it! You all should! Frankly, I'm just sad that Serendipity III closed down in 2007 due to vermin infestation.

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SERENDIPITY, 2001