Archives A - E      F - N    O - Z     Posters          Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

      BLU-RAY DVDs:
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
The Girl with Dragon Tattoo

Dark Knight Trilogy
Happy Feet Two
Tower Heist
Angels and Demons
The Rum Diary
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE

Labelled with ICRA
We're Kidlet Safe

movie review query engine

Privacy Policy

Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE


Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles


messageinabottle.jpg (81434 bytes)

Message in a Bottle

  Starring Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn and Paul Newman
Screenplay by Gerald DiPego
Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks
Directed by Luis Mandoki
Website: www.message-bottle.com

IN SHORT: A four star weeper.

Message in a Bottle is such an incredibly sad story, even as chick flicks go, that even the femme fans walking out of the sneak preview were upset. Cranky did a lot of interviewing after this one, folks. The parts of the movie the female audience didn't like were the sole parts of interest to those of us of the male persuasion. I'll get to that in a 'graph or two. Outside of that, the ladies in general expressed a sadness that to them was, almost, unexpressible.

The messages in the bottle of the title are written in that same kind of poetic lingo of that last sentence, but better. It's a whisper thin story that would have been a disaster in any other hands but, surprise, Message in a Bottle is a very well made film. I hold back from saying great (though the acting is) because that's a huzzah best reserved for film students. Message in A Bottle will bore the crap out of the guys. It will, and did have, the women in the audience sniffling way before there is any plot-wise reason to sniffle. That reads like the most backhanded of compliments, but that's what it is.

Theresa Osborne (Robin Wright Penn) is the divorced mom of preteen boy Jason (Jesse James). Theresa has seen her ex move off, remarry and have more kids with his new wife and is fairly lonely and miserable. While on a quiet week's vacation she literally finds a message in a bottle. The letter within is so soulfully written and touching that she is immediately touched. When boss Charlie Toschi (Robbie Coltrane), a columnist at the Chicago Tribune, publishes the letter she's pissed off. But the torrent of mail that comes in in response leads to two more messages found and encouragement by Theresa's friend Lina (Ileana Douglas) to track down the original writer. The leads point to North Carolina, where she meets Dodge Blake (Paul Newman) and his son Garrett (Kevin Costner). Garrett does odd jobs restoring boats. Dodge is an ex-drunk who reports that his son "talks about as much as a fish." A better description of a stock Costner character I can't think of.

Garrett has a life as unfinished as the ribs of an unfinished sailing ship sitting in his workshop. His wife Catherine, the object of the letters, had died two years earlier leaving an empty place in his heart and very bad blood between him and Catherine's brother Johnny (John Savage). The confrontations between the two men is the guy stuff I talked about. Other than that and one scene between Costner and Newman, fellas, nod off. Telling more detail than that will ruin the flick for the ladies.

What Message in a Bottle is, is the most difficult of movies to make and keep interesting. It is, basically, a series of two actor scenes. Penn and Newman. Penn and Costner. Costner and Newman. Beautiful Windham Hill type music in the score. Gorgeous photography with lots of landscapes and beaches and fireplaces and all that other standard romantic film stuff. A couple of music video-type sequences dropped in to lengthen the film.

Even before Message in a Bottle's chick flick stuff kicks in (an ex of mine, a true waterworks, will be devastated) you know you're watching utterly top notch actors at the peak of their powers. The film is probably most effective if you've got a number of broken hearts under your belt. Definitely not for teenboys.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Message in a Bottle, he would have paid . . .


Date flick level, for you guys to show how sensitive you are. If I were writing as a film student the numbers would be much higher. Message in a Bottle is, as far as the craft of film goes, absolutely superb. Sad as hell, but superb.

The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is  Copyright © 1995  -  2013 by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.