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  • While on vacation, a single mother identified as Theresa discovers a 'message in a bottle' on the shore that has moving honest words of love addressed to a woman named Catherine…

    The trail leads her to a sailboat builder named Garrett and also to his father, Dodge in a small North Carolina coastal town… It turns out that Catherine is Garret's deceased wife, and the intriguing letters were written, two years earlier, after her decease…

    Some people find the one true love of their lives, if they're fortunate enough… Luis Mandoki's film, in part, turns out to be a choice about what occurs when a person finds that right kind of love, then when he is faced with the impossible, and then when he is given the right to continue with his life and is brave enough to love again no matter how unpleasant his grief is…

    As a reclusive widower, Garret was still in deep pain, and entirely devoted to Catherine's memory… He had hard time letting go of the past… Catherine was dead but not forgotten and was simply everywhere…

    As a sailor Costner didn't inherit the charm of Newman… He was drawn to Penn by her smile, her beauty, even her mistakes…

    Robin Wright Penn was beautiful, delicate and sweet as Theresa… She soon insinuates her way into Garret's life… Her expectations were always too high… Since the beginning, she just had to meet the person that wrote those letters… Her life was changed by them… Eventually when she met Garret that morning, she accepted, without hesitation, to step aboard…

    Paul Newman as Dodge liked Theresa instantly… He saw in her the key to his son's emotional recovery…

    With a very nice music, and a stunning coastal photography—also the ocean scenes are wonderfully taken—"Message in a Bottle" is definitely a weepy melodrama and a must see for those who believe, or don't, in love…
  • I really enjoyed the peacefulness of the surroundings. The beautiful foggy mornings near the ocean is an all natural calmer. Just overall a wonderful movie. Very moving. Each of us Have loved or will have loved so deeply as to make our very souls leap into unfathomable joy. This movie grabs hold of the heart of the viewer and keeps you intrigued from the beginning to the end. It engages the inner self to want to reach out, take hold of life and love with the clarity to which we all want to be loved. It reminds us when you love, let it be always unconditional. Let it be forever. A well written movie. One, every person should take time to see.
  • The pace is set from the opening scene: the ocean with its consistent but gentle force splashing against the shore. `Message in a Bottle' follows this leisurely pace; it is not in a real hurry to give up all its secrets, but like the ocean, will surrender all in good time. So relax, and allow yourself to enjoy!

    Paul Newman (Dodge Blake) and Kevin Costner (Garrett Blake) both deliver strong performances as father and son, initially content, though not really happy in their current existence. Both have lost their love, for one reason or another, and are each other's companion and support. Newman gets the fun punch lines, Costner gets the woman. `If I were about 150 years younger' starts one of Newman's lines – it must be different for him not to play the leading role. Costner seems right at home playing a ship-building sailor who is lost because of his lost love.

    Robin Wright (Theresa Osborne) is equally strong, playing an independent and patient reporter, who follows her heart, and decides to find the author of the love letters from the ocean. She gives Garrett distance gently when he needs it, yet pushes back equally hard when she needs to.

    Much of the acting relied not so much on the delivery of lines, as on the body language, on looks, on the strained silence between a couple who is unsure of each other, often unsure of themselves, yet strongly attracted to each other.

    Both Garrett and Theresa seem to struggle at conversation, both uncertain of how to discover each other, yet each finding an attraction they can't seem to deny. Garrett is hanging on to the love he still feels for his wife, who died too early. Theresa is still recovering from a divorce, and the busy life of a single parent. Neither is sure they can be open to a new relationship, nor are they ready to say goodbye to something that is starting to feel so right.

    The photography of the sailboats on the ocean were enough to bring out the romantic in me. What could be a more peaceful setting than a sailboat anchored privately in a small cove of the ocean in the Outer Banks?. We're given just enough peek into the unfolding world of a couple discovering love, without it feeling like an intrusion.

    To talk more of the ups and downs would give away too many of the secrets that only the theatre, the bookstore, or the ocean will release.
  • I can't help but love this movie. When watching this movie, I felt as if I was right inside with the people and it was real life. All the emotions that Kevin's character goes through shows this sensitive side of him that is not always shown in his movies. I cried for his loss and cheered him on in finding another person to understand and love him for who he is. The depth of this film made me want to be in love and to share that experience with someone.
  • flakcfan17 August 2002
    This is the movie that proves that most critics don't know what they're doing. The critics shed their sentimentalism sometime in the mid-1960's, so how could they know or care?

    One must have a heart to enjoy "Message in a Bottle". It's a treasure--beautiful, poignant, tragic. The cast is wonderful, and if you don't cry at the ending, you aren't human (which most critics apparently aren't).
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I generally like Kevin Costner movies, but had only moderate expectations for this one. But after seeing it, I think it is one of the best "love stories" I have seen. The pace of the movie, and the dialog, are not rushed, some may even say leisurely. But that is a welcome change from many of today's fast action, cut-to-the-chase movies which neglect character development.

    This movie developed characters. I found myself really caring for all of them. The dialog between Costner's and Newman's characters, son and father, is very natural and believable. The meeting and getting to know one another by Penn's and Costner's characters is also very natural and believable.

    This movie could have taken the easy way out, with a neatly tied together ending, everyone living happily ever after. Instead it takes an unexpected turn but "love" is still the driving force, a strong message about love, relationships, and living each day for what it is worth.

    Finally, the scenery and photography are wonderful. Definitely one of the better "modern" movies I have seen.

    SPOILERS: He finishes his boat, named for his deceased wife, but encounters a family having difficulty on their boat during a big storm. He rescues the dad and small daughter but both he and the wife perish when he has to dive in to try to save her.

    Update 2008: I saw it again after over 8 years, and my opinion has remained the same. A somewhat underrated movie.

    Update 2017: I watched it again after 9 more years and found it rather fresh.
  • This movie has all the ingredients you need on a Sunday afternoon--it is happy and sad, funny and melancholic, optimistic but realistic, expected but unexpected, just what life is all about. Photography is just breathtaking, and oh, Chicago looks fantastic. There are some witty lines. Paul Newman is doing a great little role--Oscar? MUST SEE!
  • Spread the message and let everyone know that "Message In A Bottle" was an incredible sight to behold because it was the type of movie that cleared my mind of everything else and allowed to relax in my chair.

    "Message In A Bottle" along with the writers as well as Kevin Costner, Paul Newman, and Robin Wright Penn swept me away to another place that gave me the chance to watch a brilliant film with no worries and enjoy an epic romance.

    Costner, Newman and Wright Penn share the screen to tell the incredible, emotional and powerful story of one reporter's mission to locate the writer of three mysterious messages that turned up ashore.

    The following events set off a tender and sweet romance between Garret Blake played by Costner and Theresa Osborne played by Penn. Also, mixed into this wonderfully crafted plot is Newman who plays Dodge, Garret's father who acts as a calming effect for his son when trying to deal with his newfound feelings about Theresa and those for Catherine, the object of the mysterious messages.

    The performances by Costner, Penn and Newman seemed so natural it was enjoyable to watch actors not try so hard to do their best. I got the feeling that the actors truly cared about making this film the best they could for their fans because of the integrity and sincerity they brought to their characters.

    "Message In A Bottle" was a powerful and inspirational movie to watch and will be treasured for years to come. In addition, it had two of my favorite actors and it gave me the opportunity to watch a brilliant actress come in to her own.
  • How private is a message set afloat in a bottle? Not at all, according to this film. Finders keepers, and if it makes a good story, publish it on the front page of the daily press. Garret (Kevin Costner) loves Catherine beyond the grave, and being a boat-builder, with the sea at his doorstep, he sends messages to her in a sealed bottle. Theresa (Robin Wright Penn) relaxing by the sea finds a bottle protruding from the wet sand and is much impressed by the expressions of love in the romantic message. As a newspaper researcher she seeks out the author and predictably they fall in love. I think this film would largely appeal to women. The dialogue and the romantic situations are believable as the story slowly but steadily unfolds. The photography of the seascapes and sunsets is very appealing and the background music suitably romantic and never obtrusive. The acting throughout is very controlled. The shy Garret devoted to the memory of Catherine slowly changes as this new woman enters his life. Theresa still suffering from a broken marriage and still uncertain of her future is beautifully played as the message continues to weave its spell. Garret's crotchety old father is played with all stops out by Paul Newman - a rascally fellow with firm ideas about what is good for his son. There are a few noisy scenes in the film, and necessary, I think, because the overall tenor of the film is somewhat subdued with the two shy central characters. Not a great film by any means , but the story has a certain charm. I am sure we would all like to find a message in a bottle - much more exciting than receiving an E-mail - and I guaratee that, human nature being what it is, we'd read it too.
  • bkoganbing12 August 2009
    While strolling on a beach one day Robin Wright Penn finds a letter in a bottle. Back in the old days stranded sailors were known to send distress messages in such items in the hopes the letters would be found and they would be rescued.

    But this bottle contains a message that's a beautifully composed love letter. Penn's been the odd woman out in a triangle that broke up her marriage and she's a naturally cynical creature. When she shows the letter to her boss editor/columnist Robbie Coltrane who prints it and writes an editorial in praise of it. It gets a really big response from folks touched by it.

    A little forensic science determines the origin of the letter to be Wilmington, North Carolina and the author to be carpenter/shipbuilder Kevin Costner. A man with that kind of poetry in his soul is guaranteed to move even the once burned Robin Wright Penn.

    Message In A Bottle is an old fashioned love story guaranteed to melt the most cynical of hearts. Also featured is Paul Newman who is Costner's father who has the wisest old head around. Hard to believe the guy who played Hombre and Cool Hand Luke is now playing wise elderly folks, but Paul Newman grew not just in age, but in expanding his once in a lifetime talent as well.

    If you think you've seen all the romantic pictures there are and know how this one is coming out then you're in for a shock if you see Message In A Bottle. But it's a worthwhile experience nevertheless.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    For me, this otherwise good film is just ruined at the end by the sailboats event. I hate to be so pedantic, but the fact is that every person who has ever sailed -- and especially someone like Kostner's character who grew up on the water -- would know some basic facts:

    1. Never sail into bad weather. 2. Never sail into bad weather without wearing a life preserver, and without being tied to the boat with a line and a harness in case you fall overboard. 3. Never sail into bad weather on your own unless you're seriously crazy. 4. Never jump in the water to save someone unless you:

    a) Are wearing a life preserver.

    b) Have a life preserver or lifebuoy to throw to the victim as soon as you're close enough.

    c) Take a line with you, holding it in your hand or tying it to yourself in some way, i.e., a quick-release harness.

    That said, it's pretty obvious the movie -- and probably the book -- just wanted the Kostner character to drown. This he indeed accomplished, but the story would have been ruined, obviously, if it had shown proper, veteran behavior by an adult sailor.

    Pooey. Wrecked the whole thing for me.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Before I could scream, "My eyes! My eyes!" I realized I was basically watching my love story unfold before me. You see, I married a widower. I just hate it when people call my husband a widower. What does that make me? Dead? I think not.

    I was pleased that THIS movie somewhat shows what it like for the unfortunate woman (or perhaps man) who thinks they are just falling in love. My favorite quote in the whole movie was, "It's getting pretty crowded in there." Because that's exactly how it feels.

    The scene where they were christening the boat and she witnesses the man she loves admit that he misses "Catherine" everyday. Funny, my husband's late wife's name was, grrr, Kathryn.

    So, even though it was painful to watch... I did come away with a new appreciation of the fact that my husband didn't do the typical "push/pull" thing that was shown in the movie. My husband realized that I was someone he didn't want to lose, and he realized he wanted to live for tomorrow instead of yesterday.
  • I was glad to read that someone, somewhere actually enjoyed this movie.

    I watched it with my ladyfriend, and at the end, both of us just stared at each other in disbelief. The acting, camera work, etc was all great. The ending just plain sucks.

    If you're the type of person who can sit for two hours, enjoying a movie, then have the rug pulled out from under you at the end, have at it.

    But if you're the type who wants to leave the movie feeling that the time, effort, and involvement in the story and characters was worth while, then my advise is to find something - ANYTHING - else to do.

    It's too bad, too. Because it would have been very easy to make the ending worth while.
  • Boy, was I disappointed with this one! It was probably the worst film I've seen since "A River Runs Through It" which would be the kindling for my bonfire of terrible films. This is a movie about a man who is obsessed with his deceased wife. That's it. That's the whole 2.5 hours. It is the second most agonizingly long, boring movie that I've wasted my money on (The aforementioned movie is still #1). The plot was awful, the acting was even worse. I think Kevin and Paul should be ashamed they made this horrible picture and the writer should be banned from ever writing another script. The cinematography was about the only redeemable facet of the movie. I actually applauded at the end because I was so happy it was finally over. Save your money on this one and rent any other Costner or Newman film, you'll thank me. Really you will.
  • I was sort of hoping to enjoy this flick, but boy was I disappointed. First of all, the story is set in The Outer Banks of North Carolina, but clearly this film was shot nowhere The Outer Bank, and I would say nowhere near North Carolina. My best guess would be that they took their cameras up to Maine or something and thought that no one would see the difference. BIG MISTAKE! People who have been there know how beautiful The Outer Banks really are, and will recognize the difference. Secondly, this story is just dumb, drawn out, and overly melodramatic. This story could probably have been told in just over an hour, not just over two. The filmmakers got a little trigger happy when Costner signed on, and went overboard(no pun intended) with everything, the result being a confused, disappointing mess. The one bright light in all this muck of a film is the startling performance given by Paul Newman. Sure, it is basically the same character that he played in Nobody's Fool, but who cares. The man is still one of the finest actors that ever lived, and this performance is among some of his best work. If you decide to watch this film, do it so you can enjoy Newman's wonderful performance. His work is the only reason that this film should be viewed.
  • MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE (1999) ***

    Starring: Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn, Paul Newman, Ileana Douglas, Jesse James Director: Luis Mandoki 126 minutes Rated PG-13 (for sexuality)

    By Blake French:

    What do you do when somebody asks you a question? Well, if you're like any normal person, you'd answer it. How do you form romantic chemistry between two characters in a movie? If there isn't already dramatic fire when you look at two characters, then you have to form it will dialogue.

    In the new romantic drama "Message in a Bottle," all that the two main love birds do is ask each other and respond to questions. They meet when a Chicago newspaper worker named Theresa finds a bottled up note on the shore while jogging. She becomes curious as her friends find more evidence leading to this man that she deeply wants to meet. When she does meet him, a boat worker named Garret Blake, (hey, Blake is my first name, isn't that neat) romantic music instantly surrounds them. And the questioning begins.

    Theresa asks Garret many questions, but all Mr. Blake does is answer. Is that a bad thing? Not really, but when a movie is trying to form romance chemistry, well, this is not the way to do it. The only character who seems to be at all alive here is Paul Newman, as Blake's father, who masters every scene he is in.

    The scenery in "Message in a Bottle" is absolutely stunning. From the busy landscape of Chicago to the blue sea waters and crystal clear waves. This kind of material sweeps me away every time I see it in the movies. I would compare this film to the beautiful Montana countryside's in "The Horse Whisperer," one of the best movies of 1998.

    The performances in this film are mostly quite good, but none are Academy Award material. Robin Wright Penn is realistic and well-casted. She uses confusion and sorrow to build up momentum for the Costner character. As for Costner himself, however, he is surprisingly bad. I mean, just recovering over last year's "The Postman," this man should be rebuilding his career, not destroying it even more. He gives another "Waterworld" type of performance, acting dumfounded throughout most of the film. It's Paul Newman who is the real surprise. He adds comic relief from all the ineffective melodrama which permits most of the movie.

    The characters themselves are indeed likeable. Some are a bit stubborn and bull-headed, others are freewheeling and care-free. This is okay because variety is good, you know. I liked Newman the most, but Robin Wright Penn is right up there with him.

    A major flaw in the film, however, is the ending, which is completely out of place and disappointing. I have nothing against this type of closing, but I have already seen this in material in last years "City of Angels," sorry if that gives anything away. It leaves the audience with a feeling of depression and disappointment as they walk out of the theater.

    In the end, "Message in a Bottle" is a close call, but I do recommend it. Thanks to some attractive features, original screenplay based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, and some fascinating characters, Luis Mandoki has created a satisfactory movie that I did enjoy for most of the way.

    Brought to you by Warner Bros.
  • Message in A Bottle packages the strength of a love story about finding love again, with the breathtaking beauty of the sea, and seasoned actors who make endearing characters come alive to bring an unforgettable romance to the screen.

    It reminisces of "Bridges of Madison County" but with a stronger and more real-life appeal. Theresa Osborne (Robin Wright Penn) is from the city, quite happy in her work as a Chicago Tribune researcher, and as a mother to Jason. But in her moments alone, she has to deal with the reality of her husband leaving her for another woman, sometimes forced to face the two of them and their own toddler when she brings Jason to visit with him. Garret Blake (Kevin Costner) restores sailboats in a seaside town, he looks after his father Dodge (Paul Newman), and keeps a shrine for his wife Catherine in his house, even after her death 2 years ago. He has left every brush, oil, pastel crayon and easel where it was as when she died. It was through the letter he wrote to Catherine which Theresa found in a bottle at the beach that brought him and Theresa together.

    I thought the development of the story was fast paced at the start, when the mystery of the letter sender was quickly revealed in the first quarter of the movie that I wondered what was to be expected to happen for the rest of the story. And after that initial, exciting build-up leading to the meeting of Garret and Theresa, the pace slackened - a bit too slow for my taste as the pair discovers their attraction. What added relief to the intense, romantic, but sometimes, dragging moments is the appearance now and then of Paul Newman's character Dodge. Dodge has his own hurts to heal, but his stubbornness not to let Garret go through the same path he did, and his curt but witty remarks brings out laughter and makes him truly endearing. One notable scene is in the diner when he flared up when asked why he chose a particular seat. The romantic scenes are also complimented by the scenery. The glorious backdrop of the sea - you'll almost feel relaxed as you hear the breeze rustling the leaves, the lapping of the waves on the shore and the cry of the seagulls.

    Kevin Costner as Garret could have done better. He convinces us that Garret is a simple unassuming man, but I was hoping to see the same man who wrote with such sensitivity and passion to his wife and I just couldn't find it in Kevin. Robin Wright Penn however, is very inspiring. She shows you just what it is like to fall in love in these times. She shows both the vulnerability and the strength of which Theresa is made of. She draws the viewers into feeling for her - her courage to go into something so unsure, her excitement, her joy in letting go and loving again, and then, her fear of expecting too much.

    Another character who brings comic relief is Theresa's editor Charlie. Robbie Coltrane couldn't be more perfect for the role. He leaves the audience on guard, wondering if he is really the big bully which he seems to be or someone with a soft heart. Anyway, I end up laughing at his antics whenever he comes on screen. Best scene is when he gave Theresa a framed picture of himself. In all of the movie, I think it is Charlie who is the most unreal, as I find it hard to believe that there could be editors who are genuinely caring for their staff in this way.

    Perhaps it is also the script that adds to the magic of the story - the dialogue was written so cleverly and the scenes made just so that I can say, hey, this is real life, this is what everyday people say and feel and think. No false pretensions. You will especially be drawn to it if you were broken yourself. You will recognize the same words that you said and the same odd things that you did and only you understand that is right. You will also not miss the glaring contrast of the two lifestyles - Garret in slickers, literally smelling of grease and sea salt in his beach home; and Theresa in her power suits, in a modular office and a sea of computers. How they are able to bridge this difference gives me hope. I'm not really sure myself if this kind of relationship will work, but who knows what can happen if we really try?

    The message of love in Message in a Bottle is courage. To go on, in spite of, despite of. In spite of the hurt in the past, in spite of the uncertainty of the future. There will be others who have been broken too and their courage will inspire and sustain you.
  • dmartin659 November 2006
    At first I thought it would be a predictable movie as it moved along. The ending was sad and not expected. When Theresa got the phone call at her meeting, it was a tragic message. It was even more tragic when she read the message in the bottle at the end. I got caught up in the sadness and tragic shift in what might have been good live for both of them, had Garret made a choice to be with her after she came to see the boat launch. I think the acting and direction was outstanding. Kevin handled his role magnificently and Paul was also outstanding. This is one of the first movies I've seen Robin in and she is indeed a great actress. I watch a lot of movies and am not much of a critic. But she turned in an Academy performance. Very nice musical score. I think overall, this movie deserves a much higher rating than the 4 or 5 rating on IMDb.
  • I didn't really like this movie, but then I'm not a fan of Nicholas Sparks. The thing that really did this film in for me though was the location. It's supposed to be in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, they SAY IN THE FILM that they're in the Outer Banks, but it looks nothing like the Outer Banks because it was filmed in Maine! Why why why would they do that. Do they think that no one knows what the Outer Banks looks like?

    Maine Coast - Hilly, Piney, many small coves

    Outer Banks - Flat sand bank, Sea Oats, one long Stretch of beach that goes on for ever with nary a cove in sight!

    The Outer Banks are one of my favorite places on earth, and so beautiful and unique. If they wanted to film in Maine because they don't get the beauty of the Outer Banks, then SAY IT'S IN MAINE!

  • f2lover4 August 2000
    I was bored within 15 minutes of this movie. I didn't believe for a second that "Teresa and Garrett" were "in love" nor did I think the pairing of Kevin Costner and Robin Wright Penn worked...It was a waste of time. Beautiful scenery and Martha Stewart houses do not make a movie.
  • Robin Wright Penn lends intelligence, warmth, and just the right amount of anxiety to this role to support the whole film. Costner's minimalist charm has the perfect showcase as a wounded widow and Paul Newman reminds of us of the time when our biggest stars were really stars. It is a slow film, and not the most subtle, but for those who can accept the movie on its own terms, it is a romantic, beautifully filmed story that will remind one of both the pain and exhilaration love can bring.
  • Darbe36929 October 2005
    This movie is a classic. For anyone who has any real feelings and tragically lost the love of their life, they'll be able to relate to this movie. Excellent story line, a real tear jerker, but a love story just the same. It will continually hold your interest the entire time, and it's over before you know it, even though it is 2-1/2 hours long---it doesn't drag on like a lot of movies do. Paul Newman, Kevin Costner, and Robin Wright Penn are all perfect in their respective roles. It's a story to show there can be life after a love is lost. One of my Top 10 favorite movies of ALL time! Kevin Costner says it best near the end---when he says a person is VERY luck to find true love once in their lifetime, but to find it twice is a true miracle! my Top 10 movies of ALL time! A real must see! You won't be disappointed!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie is the most boring of all the Sparks big screen adaptations. It lacks chemistry between the leads and just isn't romantic. This is no Notebook.

    Kevin Costner looks too over the hill. Robin Wright is pretty here but she doesn't seem to connect with Costner's character. Even Paul Newman is out of place too much stature for the role.

    The ending is an anticlimax. The drama with the in laws is contrived. In most other Sparks stories you feel something for the main protagonists even if the sentimentality can be a bit clichéd and obvious. But here it just left me completely cold and unmoved.

    What a total yawn.
  • egenc-121 December 2008
    I think the ones that gave 1 to this movie are the ones that gave 10 to Doom. Otherwise there is no way that this movie can be rated as low as a terrible production such as Doom..

    It is a story of a guy (Kevin Costner) that is stucked between living the past or looking for the future after meeting Theresa. It is a well acted love story the end of which is not signaled as some other argued!It is not a cliché at all.If someone claim otherwise, i would like him/her give me an example similar to this movie in plot.

    I would recommend this movie to everyone for a nice evening! Watch it you will not be regretful.
  • If I hadn't read the book long before I saw the movie, I would probably give this movie 10 in the rating. The actors are great and the overall movie is very good. But, as I mentioned, I had read the book. Let me rephrase it "I had fallen in love with the book". Nicholas spark is a great writer. I completely dislike the sugar and vanilla love story books that many authors tend to write today, books that you read and throw in the recycling box. Nicholas Sparks stands well above them all. All the words used in that book are great, and because I loved the book so much, I already had imagined my own version of that movie. To tell you the truth I saw the male character in my dreams to be Kevin Costner, because I love him. Robin was a very nice surprise. The movie is very good, I would say it is not a waste of time to watch it, but I would strongly recommend for you to read the book and create your own, very personal movie.
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