6 April 2005 | jotix100
Barry Manilow sing along
"Unconditional Love" starts with great promise. As directed by P. J. Hogan, the film works great up until the last third of the movie, when it falls flat on its face. The screen play Mr. Hogan and Jocelyn Moorehouse wrote showed a myriad of possibilities that fizzle at the end. It appears the artistic team behind the movie had great hopes for it to play differently. The reality is this is a film that is looking in different directions in how to bring it to a resolution that ultimately fails. Don't get me wrong, the movie is tremendously appealing and will resonate with a lot of its viewing public.
Based on the strong cast, we decided to take a look. The tremendously talented Kathy Bates is the perfect choice to play Grace Beasley, the woman who finds at the beginning of the film that all is not well in her marriage. Ms. Bates is an excellent actress who deserved much better, even when her character is not helped by what the authors have her do in the film.
Rupert Everett is always dependable into delivering. His role, as the late Victor Fox's lover is well written, that is, until Dirk is lured into coming to Chicago to find Victor's murderer. It's bizarre and it defies all rules of logic. Dirk doesn't look capable of hurting a fly, let alone hunt down a killer with the help of Grace and her daughter-in-law, the incredible funny, Maudey.
As played by Meredith Eaton, this little woman, Maudey, is one of the best things in the film. She's is brash and tells it as she sees it. Peter Sarsgaard, one of the best actors working in films these days has nothing to do in the picture; he is totally wasted. Dan Aykroyd also has nothing to do. We see him at the beginning and at the end of the film and his Max doesn't make sense. He appears to want changes in his life and his marriage, only to come back to Grace without any explanation, all things forgiven.
The English actors are good. Lynn Redgrave has a better opportunity as the hysterical Nola. Jonathan Pryce is seen throughout the film as a ghost singing bland songs. Julie Andrews makes a funny contribution in a couple of priceless scenes.
Ultimately the television show hosted by Sally Jesse Raphael is a turn off and doesn't add anything to the movie. The best part is hearing Kathy Bates singing. What a beautiful voice she has! In fact, Ms. Bates is the best excuse for staying until the end.