21 January 2001 | sharptongue
Charming warm tale about the quirky relationship between an immigrant and an all-american folk music fan.
It is initially hard to accept Jose Ferrer playing a Slav, but this becomes less of a concern pretty soon. The characterizations are sincere, and the story takes several unpredictable turns, confirming the intention of the title. The story does suffer under the burden of American triumphalism, though this is only a minor detail.
This is no tale of grand passion. The heroine complains that, though she likes the hero and he adores her, it isn't much more than that. "He doesn't give me a chill up my spine", she moans. Her aging and ill grandmother retorts "You can get that from a cold shower".
The grandmother has the standout part among the supporting cast. Which is really saying something, as it is a ripper bunch of great actors, who paint a lovely tableau of mad Georgian (former USSR, not American South) community life. The grandmother stands out mainly because she is given all the best lines, such as the one above.
There is warmth between the two leads. Not too much. Just the right amount, to fit in with the moral of the film ("settling for second best can always turn out well").
I particularly liked the handling of the immigrants adjusting to their new life, and their attempts to deal with the quirks of the English language are handled with warmth and empathy while still being very funny.
Overall, a nice and highly enjoyable film.