SERENDIPITY
Predestination (a.k.a. fate) and free will (a.k.a. choice) duke it out and find a common ground.
Review by MIKE FURCHES


SERENDIPITY
(2001)


This page was created on October 10, 2001
This page was last updated on
May 22, 2005

Credits

Directed by Peter Chelsom
Written by Marc Klein

John Cusack .... Jonathan Trager
Kate Beckinsale .... Sara Thomas
Molly Shannon
Jeremy Piven
Bridget Moynahan
Eugene Levy
Amita Balla .... Bride

Produced by Peter Abrams (producer), Robbie Brenner (co-executive producer), Simon Fields (producer), Julie Goldstein (executive producer), Amy Kaufman (co-producer), Robert L. Levy (producer), Bob Osher (executive producer), Andrew Panay (co-producer), Amy Slotnick (executive producer)
Original music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography by John de Borman
Film Editing by Christopher Greenbury

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, and for brief language.
Runtime: 90

Trailer
QuickTime (7 MB)
RealVideo (low bandwidth)


Serendipity
Various Artists - Soundtrack - 2001

1. Never A Day - Wood 2. Moonlight Kiss - Bap Kennedy 3. January Rain - David Gray 4. Waiting In Vain - Annie Lennox 5. The Distance - Evan & Jaron 6. Like Lovers Do - Heather Nova 7. When You Know - Shawn Colvin 8. Northern Sky - Nick Drake 9. Cool Yule - Louis Armstrong 10. This Year - Chantal Kreviazuk 11. (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me - Brian Whitman 12. 83 - John Mayer 13. Fast Forward - Alan Silvestri
Can Once In A Lifetime Happen Twice?

SYNOPSIS:
Serendipity n. an aptitude for making fortunate discoveries accidentally [serendipitous adj.] -Webster's Dictionary

One magical night in their twenties, Jonathan (John Cusack) met Sara (Kate Beckinsale). He was in love at first sight but Sara believed in destiny. Now, after ten years, two fiancées, and 3,000 miles between them, only fate can decide if they're destined to be together again. When love feels like magic...you call it destiny.

When destiny has a sense of humor... you call it... Serendipity.

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlarge

Review by
MIKE FURCHES
mike@furches.org

Web site www.furches.org

Mike is the Senior Pastor at United at the Cross Community Church in Wichita Kansas. United at the Cross is a church made up of individuals not often accepted in other churches. The church consists of former gang members, drug addicts, prostitutes and others. Mike also speaks nationally on various topics and is a freelance writer. To learn more about Mike and his ministry link onto www.furches.org. In the arts Mike has worked with top music artists such as Steppenwolf, Marshall Tucker Band, Kansas and has an active interest in film. Mike is pictured with his music band "Route 66."

Click to enlargeWhat God has put together let no man put asunder. Wedding vows that many people around the world use in their weddings but vows that also make an assumption. An assumption that God puts people together. Thus is the question of Serendipity. Is there such a thing as finding your soul mate in life and if there is, where do they come from? While there are no specific answers to these direct questions, the concept of Divine Intervention, Fate and or Chance are concepts addressed in a fantastic way from this wonderfully fun date movie.
Click to enlargeFollowing the tradition of Sleepless in Seattle, Serendipity follows the lost love adventures of Jonathan Trager, played by the much-underrated actor, Academy Award Winner John Cusack. Cusack has played such a variety of roles it is easy to forget how magnificent his talent and craft are. Throughout the film he plays Jonathan Trager as well as anyone could. While Tom Hanks played similar roles in You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, Hanks lacked the overall depth and facial expressions of Cusack. While both of those are excellent and fun movies, Serendipity takes on a little different perspective with more focus on chance or destiny. Throughout the movie the question is asked: Is there divine intervention? Does God put people together? Do things happen by mere chance? and, "If a door closes does God really open a window?"
Click to enlargeTrager happens to meet Sara Thomas one night by what appears to be mere chance in New York. Through a series of events, they end up spending much of the evening together talking and skating, realizing from the first moment that there is something special about their relationship. What it is just isn't clear, and Sara, played beautifully by Kate Beckinsale, decides to put their fate in the stars and chance, "If things are meant to be then we will end up together." While she decides to place her fate in chance Jonathan does not want to take the risk and knows from the start that there is something different about their relationship.
Sara decides to write her name in a book to be placed in a used bookstore, and Jonathan writes his name on a $5 bill that Sara spends. They decide that if those items ever comes into the other's possession that their relationship was meant to be. Along with their names on these items is the other's phone number. After much discussion, Jonathan talks Sarah into another option. They each ride a separate elevator picking a floor at random in the Waldorf Hotel. If they meet on the same floor their relationship was meant to be. The viewer becomes rather excited when they see each character pick the 23rd floor respectively and unknown to the other. Along the way up the elevator a man and a small child in a devils outfit get on the elevator that Jonathan is in. The child in the devil's costume then places the divine intervention between Jonathan and Sara in jeopardy. I won't go into detail here but what I will say is that the child is not dressed like the devil by coincidence and there is wonderful spiritual symbolism in this sequence. What I will say is that the two are separated for years and the apparent love that seemed so obvious takes a drastic sidetrack.
Click to enlargeFor the duration of the movie both Jonathan and Sara think they fall in love with others but in their hearts they feel they must find out what happened to the other before committing to marriage. It is almost as if divine intervention begins to occur again in their lives at crucial times prior to the decision that will erase forever the ultimate love that is possible between the two of them. Both characters begin to put their trust in their best friends who appear to have everything together. As the journey to find the other continues, both Sara and Jonathan discover that their friends and ones they are about to be married don't have that perfect life or divine spark that they had experienced with each other.
Click to enlargeWhile Serendipity is predictable it is still fun. I saw the film with my wife and it was nice to sit there holding hands throughout the movie. There has not been as fun a date movie in a long time. The Spiritual issue of God putting people together is wonderfully thought out as is the blending of the concepts of freewill and predestination without disregarding either notion. The supporting cast is also plays superbly and there are some fun moments throughout the film.
Click to enlargeSerendipity is one of those films in which one has to question the role of Spirituality in movies and why it is there. This film is laced with questions and answers, (if one is looking for them.) There is ample opportunity to discuss faith and spirituality after viewing this film. It would make a fabulous, fun double date movie. It could also lead to great after movie dinner or desert discussion with a couple of friends. See it with friends and then talk about the spiritual questions asked in the film.
Click to enlargeWhile certainly not original it is still very well done. Between a book, a five dollar bill and a couple of pleasing golf swings it all adds up to an enjoyable 8

FATE
Subject: Serendipity
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001
From: Nicole

I went to go see this movie about a month ago. It was a nice cheery movie, but, you see, it implies that faith is just a thing of the past and that fate is all we relly need to put our lived in to. Sarah's friend makes the comment during the movie that if fate is all we need then what is the point of getting out of bed?
Nicole, 14, FLA

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