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Film Reviews:  Sweet November and Forever Young and Jerry Maguire Movies

Thanks to Russell Crowe, because of Gladiator, I became excited about movies again.

For example, as I watched Sweet November, I was reminded of how the reason I kept watching was because of Keanu Reeves.  The story is a wonderful love story and it reminded me of the novel, The Falconer.  The movie is not an adaptation of the novel, but the themes are similar.

In the novel, the female character finds out she has cancer and ends up realizing her passion for life by discovering the love of her life, a falconer.  In the end, the man she loves “kills” himself in a helicopter accident to be with her.  She finds this out by receiving a note from him after his “death.”  As she lies on her deathbed, she realizes what he had done and so she, too, lets the cancer take over and dies.

In the movie, the female lead, Sara--played well by Charlize Theron, especially in the latter scenes--who also has cancer, does all she can to simply enjoy life because she knows of the inevitable.  Keanu Reeves finds out she has cancer toward the end and he still shows his love for her.  He makes a well-thought, conscious decision to stay with Sara.  But in the end she convinces him to go on with his life while she goes off to face her inevitable fate, a shortened life because of cancer. 

This theme is similar to The Falconer but the novel and the movie end differently. 

In the novel, the male love interest kills himself in a helicopter accident to be with his female love in the afterlife.  In the movie, Keanu Reeves is simply left alone after Sara ties a scarf around his eyes.

Keanu Reeves does a great job of showing how he is feeling when he takes off the scarf and Sara has “left.”  His genuine, teary eyes, shows how life isn’t “perfect” and it is this imperfection that gives him “soul.”  In only a few seconds, the audience can see what Keanu Reeves’ character is going through and Keanu Reeves does an excellent job of acting this out.

So Sweet November is not a waste of time, especially with this last shot of Keanu Reeves at his best in his acting.

As far as artistic details go, the scarf around the eyes is an artistic detail worth paying attention to next time the movie is viewed.

An interesting fact—Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves also starred as husband and wife in The Devil’s Advocate.

Another example of how a last shot of a movie can make audiences appreciate the entire movie, is the shot of Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire.  He goes to Renee Zellweger’s character to reveal his love for her and Tom Cruise’s teary eyes in this shot is wonderful.  Like Keanu Reeves and other actors who show true, genuine emotion and depth, Tom Cruise pulls it off in this shot.

A third example is of Mel Gibson in Forever Young.  He finds the woman she loves in the end and Mel Gibson shows genuine feeling for his happiness in discovering her again.  To accomplish this when his and her character are “old” is something and deserves credit, because today’s audiences are seasoned with the young and the beautiful.

In Forever Young, Mel Gibson, Jamie Lee Curtis and Elijah Wood do a great job.  It’s a great, happy ending.  There are many, quiet-moment scenes in this movie where Mel Gibson does a wonderful job.  There are no guns, bombs or such to take away from those quiet moments when Gibson can show his talent.  For example, the scene in the tree house where he teaches Elijah Wood how to fly is a wonderful scene.

If you are an Elijah Wood fan, Wood plays the son of Jamie Lee Curtis and the friend of Mel Gibson in Forever Young. 

Mel Gibson also takes another deserved credit for The Man Without A Face.  He intentionally picks a role where his famous, good-looking face is disfigured.  If you haven’t seen Braveheart, watch it.  You can also enjoy his voice in Chicken Run and Pocahontas.

So as I continue to rediscover movies, especially the ones I have not watched before, I’m appreciative of all the stars, their risky moves and their great efforts. 

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