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Movie Review

Hollywood has been trumping up love affairs between older men and younger women for years. Autumn in New York falls right in line with its uninspiring tale about 48-year-old restaurateur Will Keane falling hopelessly in love with 22-year-old Charlotte. Paint-by-number seduction scenes, sex scenes, argument scenes and walk-in-the-park scenes inevitably leave viewers drowsy. For example, the first time Will and Charlotte dance together, the pair’s dialogue could have been written by a first-grader. Will remarks, "Man, you don’t dance, you float." A few moments later, Charlotte marvels, "Now you’re dancing with me, how weird is that?" And so goes the rest of the film. As for the "surprise" ending. It isn’t. Not that it matters much, most moviegoers won’t be engaged enough to care.

positive elements: It takes a while, but Will eventually recognizes himself as the creep that he is, forsakes his womanizing ways and pledges loyalty to Charlotte. He’s also taught a painful lesson about the value of family and the responsibilities that come with creating one. He learns the lesson too late. Viewers, however, may benefit from his struggle.

spiritual content: None, despite the fact that throughout the film Charlotte grapples with her own mortality as a result of a life-threatening disease.

sexual content: It is implied repeatedly that Will has had sex with a wide variety of women. His indiscriminate activities even include a rendezvous with an old fling while he’s dating Charlotte. It would follow then, that he and Charlotte quickly dive into a sexual relationship. They do, on their very first date. Soon the pair is living together (a couple of scenes show them in bed). While obstructed camera angles, mood lighting and translucent screens render the sex scenes more artistic than graphic, there’s no doubt about what’s happening. Sexual innuendo also spoils dialogue on occasion.

violent content: None.

crude or profane language: Two f-words, a handful of s-words, several uses of the word "b--ch," and various milder profanities arise. God’s name is abused sporadically.

drug and alcohol content: Champagne, wine and other alcoholic drinks are the norm for numerous dining scenes. There’s talk about eating marijuana-laced brownies and a joke about crack.

conclusion: There’s not much to it. Autumn in New York could have been a great morality tale had the filmmakers chosen to lose the sex and foul language. Even then, the lack of emotional pull still minimizes the film’s benefit. Will goes through the fires of personal turmoil and finally turns his life around. That’s great. But after sitting through 105 minutes of Autumn in New York, you just can’t help but think, "So what?" There’s no conviction in the lessons. There’s no passion in the telling. And ultimately, there’s not much to walk away with. Will proclaims once that "food is the only beautiful thing that truly nourishes." This film certainly won’t prove him wrong.

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Richard Gere as Will Keane; Winona Ryder as Charlotte; Anthony LaPaglia as John; Elaine Stritch as Dolly (Dolores)


Joan Chen ( )





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Steven Isaac

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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