WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN
DIRECTOR: LUIS MANDOKI
COUNTRY: USA 1994
CINEMATOGRAPHY: LAJOS KOLTAI
MUSIC: ZBIGNIEW PREISNER
CAST: Meg Ryan, Andy Garcia, Lauren Tom, Ellen Burstyn
SUPER FEATURES: Two actors.!!!!
I think one has to be a cynical son of a gun, and not give a darn about personal stories, if one does not see this film, and like it. Even though it is a bit on the depressing side of things, a marriage that is suffering because of alcohol, it still reminds us that there is something in a relationship that can be sacred, meaningful, and worth saving, and learn from, be it alcohol, drugs, or just plain trying to be the best being any one can be.
But in the process of trying to develop a relationship we tend to get in each other's way, and add a few problems here and there. We become unhappy and do not work together at making it all worthwhile and valuable.
WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN, is such a story. And, granted, it is hard for these not to be taken as a preachy thing, since so many of us have similar problems, or have at one time or another fallen prey to similar situations. But, this reviewer did not find this film preachy. Just well written, and well directed. Its preoccupation is how each character feels, and how they figure they can make it back together, instead of centering each other on their own individual ideas, and come away separated and empty handed. Well, so the ending is soapy and comes off a bit blah, blah.... but it is closer to what can happen to any of us, than most movies which might take more extreme measures simply to create a tragic story, for the sake of a movie. Here we can feel, live, be, and learn. If we want to.
And no doubt, much of these things depends on how well, the lead actors carry the story. Meg Ryan is impeccable, and really a treat to watch as is Andy Garcia. Playing a role that is not easy, that is emotional at every turn, and has to be carefully measured so not to become
repetitive and boring, is not easy, and for the actress in this case not much fun. But it is well done, and meaningfully so.
The film features some musical interludes that are outstanding by the polish composer Zbigniew Preisner, whose talent has graced so many of
the Krysztof Kieslowski's films. Well thought out music, that more than fills in the gaps, is not only a sign of a good director, but also of a great composer whose insight is adding to the whole film.
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