Serendipity (2001)

Serendipity
Director: Peter Chelsom
Writer: Marc Klein
Cast: John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Bridget Moynahan, Eugene Levy, John Corbett, Molly Shannon
Seen on: 7.5.2021

Content Note: transmisia

Plot:
Sara (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan (John Cusack) meet by chance in the pre-Christmas shopping mayhem. What should be a quick encounter turns into an extended date, despite the fact that they are both seeing people. At the end of the night, though, Sara is unwilling to exchange contact information in the traditional way, convinced that if they’re supposed to be with each other, fate will bring them back together again. A few years later, though, they still haven’t run into each other again. Jonathan is about to marry his girlfriend (Bridget Moynahan) and Sara’s boyfriend (John Corbett) also just proposed. This brings both of them to renew their efforts to find each other again.

Serendipity is a strange film that left me frowning at its affectations rather than enjoying them. I really couldn’t get into it.

The film poster showing Sara (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan (John Cusack) embracing each other.

I’m not one for “destiny” stories, at least not when it comes to love. I like it when people choose each other instead of being forced together by some kind of cosmic force (whether they want to or not). I also struggle with “love at first sight” stuff because I’m just too demiromantic for that. So Serendipity was doubly hamstrung in that regard for me and had I really known what it was about, I may have skipped it for that reason – but I just saw that it was a RomCom with John Cusack and decided to go for it.

But even if both those concepts had been more my cup of tea, I doubt that Serendipity would have worked for me. A romance where the lovers spent about 90% of the time separated can only work under very special circumstances. When you get so little time with the two together, their chemistry has to be basically earth-shattering and Cusack and Beckinsale just don’t have that chemistry. Or much chemistry at all.

Jonathan (John Cusack) leaning in to kiss Sara (Kate Beckinsale).

Plus the entire fate thing was just so overblown, that I doubt even hardened fate-aficionados will be able to get into it. Sara’s insistence on leaving their second encounter to fate is a headscratcher when the case can be easily made that their first encounter was already all the sign they needed.

Even worse, though, there is a sanctimonious tone to the script that seems on a mission to show us how smart it is, and how wise, and how it just knows how life should be lived. But it’s the kind of advice I can happily do without.

Sara (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan (John Cusack) walking the Christmassy streets of New York.

Summarizing: oh no.

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