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Can once in a lifetime happen twice? 

Year: 2001 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Serendipity is a romantic comedy with a twist of fate. When Sara Thomas (Beckinsale), the archetypical English girl in American movies, meets journalist Jonathan Trager (Cusack) in a department store in New York, it is love at first sight. Unfortunately, neither of them is single at the time. Sara, however, has great faith in the powers of chance, and designs a test to see if the two really are destined for each other. She refuses to let Jonathan know her name, but writes her number down on the inside cover of a book, which she subsequently sells to a second-hand bookstore. Similarly, Jonathan writes his number down on a five-dollar bill and sets it in circulation before they part.

Years later, both Sara and Jonathan are engaged to be married, but neither has forgotten the night they met. Jonathan still checks every used bookstore he comes across, and when he discovers a faint clue to Sara's whereabouts, he is determined to follow it, even to the point of postponing his own wedding. At the same time, Sara goes to New York in search of him. Through their quests, their paths cross more than once, though they always miss each other - often by mere seconds.

The movie is well cast, as both Cusack and Beckinsale fit their characters to a tee. The beautiful pre-September 11th New York scenery also bears mentioning. Perhaps even more instrumental to the light, romantic feel of the film, however, is the soundtrack. In particular, the understated melody lines of David Gray seem to add that little something extra to key moments in the film.

All in all, Serendipity is a well-executed romantic comedy, with few surprises, but plenty of feel-good factor and laughs. Some of the serendipitous (pun intended) events in the move may seem a little too unlikely, but then again perhaps that is the point - that faith in fate can bring two people together against all odds. That should be a message of hope for those of us not yet so lucky.

Martin Aspeli

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Screenings of this film:

2001/2002 Summer Term (35mm)
2001/2002 Summer Term (35mm)