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'Til There Was You
Directed by Scott Winant
Produced by Penney Finkelman Cox
Alan Poul
Tom Rosenberg
Written by Winnie Holzman
Starring Jeanne Tripplehorn
Dylan McDermott
Sarah Jessica Parker
Music by Terence Blanchard
Miles Goodman
Cinematography Bobby Bukowski
Editing by Joanna Cappuccilli
Richard Marks
Studio Lakeshore Entertainment
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) May 30, 1997
Running time 114 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $3,525,125 [1]

'Til There Was You is a 1997 American romantic drama film directed by Scott Winant. The screenplay, written by Winnie Holzman, traces thirty-odd years in the parallel lives of two people whose intertwined paths finally converge when their mutual interest in a community project brings them together.

Contents

Plot

Gwen Moss has spent the better part of her life wondering if she ever will meet the man of her dreams, unaware they briefly bumped into each other at school as children and have had several close encounters ever since. She aspires to have a life like her longtime friend Debbie, a successful doctor with a beautiful home but a marriage that may not be as perfect as it seems on the surface.

Gwen is hired to ghostwrite the autobiography of former child star Francesca Lanfield, whose career virtually ended following her stint on a long-running Patridge Family-Brady Bunch hybrid sitcom. Francesca owns La Fortuna, a picturesque vintage apartment complex architect Nick Dawkan's boss Timo wants to buy and demolish so his firm can construct a modern condominium development in its place. Francesca agrees to the sale as long as Nick is placed in charge of the project, and the two embark on a somewhat tempestuous relationship. Both are damaged emotionally; Francesca has overcome an addiction to drugs but still craves the spotlight, while Nick is dealing with the memory of a father who failed as a songwriter and became a hopeless alcoholic. Meanwhile, Gwen is shocked to discover her father Saul never loved her mother Beebee and is devastated when the two decide to divorce.

Gwen moves La Fortuna and finds herself surrounded by an assortment of odd but lovable neighbors who have created a family of their own. When the tenants are presented with eviction notices, they decide to fight back. Having discovered the property was designed by Sophia Monroe, one of the first female architects of note (and coincidentally Nick's mentor during the early stages of his career), and served as home to silent film star Louise Brooks, Gwen hopes she can have it declared an historical landmark with the assistance of Jon Haas, the city councilman she is dating. Nick is prepared to do battle for his firm until he sees La Fortuna and learns its history and decides it might be worth preserving after all.

Cast

Critical reception

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated the film 1½ stars and called it "the most tiresome and affected movie in many a moon, a 114-minute demonstration of the Idiot Plot, in which everything could be solved with a few well-chosen words that are never spoken . . . and at the end of it all, we have the frustration of knowing that 114 minutes of our lives have been wasted, never to be returned . . . All comes together at the end. Landmarks are saved, hearts are mended, long-deferred love is realized, coincidences are explained, the past is healed, the future is assured, the movie is over. I liked the last part the best." [2]

Ruthe Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle observed, "Filmmakers should be careful about using snippets from old movies. In Til There Was You, there's a tender scene from Brief Encounter that says more about fate and the serendipity of falling in love in two minutes than this new movie does in two hours . . . 'Til There Was You hammers away at the idea that people don't find love until they're ready for it. The notion is convenient as a way of keeping Gwen and Nick apart, but it's not true. People are always meeting at inconvenient times. That's what Brief Encounter is about. First-time screenwriter Winnie Holzman may have been aware of the lameness of her central premise because she has loaded the movie with a dizzying number of subplots . . . Directing his first film after many years as a television producer, Scott Winant seems at a loss to know how to integrate these disparate elements. They come across like episodes of Seinfeld or Friends . . . Tripplehorn and McDermott don't look as if they belong together and aren't strong enough actors to overcome their physical incompatibility. So there's no sense of urgency about them getting together, as there was with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle. Tripplehorn in particular makes an unlikely romantic lead; she's dull at the times she should sparkle. By contrast, Sarah Jessica Parker is the life of the movie. As Francesca . . . she appears to be doing a Madonna impersonation, grabbing the screen and holding it with the force of her personality, not to mention her cleavage." [3]

Barbara Shulgasser of the San Francisco Examiner noted "what makes the intermittently charming, intelligent and funny 'Til There Was You so intermittently dull, loose and meandering is that the filmmakers thought they could pack the contents of more TV episodes into one movie than any movie should be required to hold. The tangled 114 minutes feel like years." [4]

Leonard Klady of Variety stated, "A tired piece of romantic cornball fare that harks back to a bygone era, the film is a badly conceived, poorly executed fairy tale guaranteed to make audiences squirm in their seats . . . Winnie Holzman's script is one of those filigree fantasies in need of an experienced, stylish filmmaker. Tyro feature director Scott Winant simply doesn't fit the bill, going for the obvious and banal . . . But ultimately, 'Til There Was You doesn't work because its leads lack charm, and the viewer remains indifferent as to whether they get together at the close." [5]

Home media release

Paramount Home Video released 'Til There Was You on videotape and Region 1 DVD on December 11, 2001. The film is in the anamorphic widescreen format with an audio track and subtitles in English. There are no bonus features.

References

  1. ^ "BoxOfficeMojo.com". Archived from the original on 2009-09-16. http://www.webcitation.org/5jpmLEZ9t. Retrieved 2009-09-12.  
  2. ^ "Chicago Sun-Times review". Archived from the original on 2009-09-16. http://www.webcitation.org/5jpmLYhM8. Retrieved 2009-09-12.  
  3. ^ "San Francisco Chronicle review". Archived from the original on 2009-09-16. http://www.webcitation.org/5jpmMMcFV. Retrieved 2009-09-12.  
  4. ^ San Francisco Examiner review
  5. ^ Variety review

External links

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