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AUTUMN IN NEW YORK

SYNOPSIS:
In his late 40s, Will Keane (Richard Gere) is a flamboyant New York restaurateur who is addicted to women. When he meets the much younger Charlotte Fielding (Winona Ryder) his instincts warn him of the dangers, as does his old chum, Dolly (Elaine Stricht), who knew Charlotte’s mother. Indeed, so did Will; she was the one women he didn’t bed, going off instead with her friend. Now, more than 20 years later, those actions are having their repercussions come back, just as Will finds himself actually falling in love with Charlotte. But as fate would have it, Charlotte’s heart is in the deadly grip of the grim reaper.

"Overdone and predictable as it is, Autumn in New York is not a bad film: just a frustrating one. Frustrating because it comes close to achieving its emotional objectives, and because it suffers from MHS (Modern Hollywood Syndrome), which inflicts the virus of plasticity on films such as this. For example, in an effort to ensure a feel good ending, the real ending – a sad but not tragic view of Richard Gere’s Will Keane as the redemeed sinner in purgatory (symbolically speaking, because there is snow on the rooftops of New York), is tagged with a scene that could be described as forced moral closure. I won’t labour the point or spoil (?) it for you by going into a description. Another frustration is the perfunctory way one of the underlying issues of the relationship is dealt with: she is terminally ill, but has decided against any invasive surgery when the crunch comes. He secretly engineers emergency surgery to be on stand-by, and the conflict revolves around intricate issues of love and selfishness. But this whole subject is dismissed in a couple of lines in favour of pat resolutions. Everything is hammered home, although the rider to that (sorry) is Winona Ryder’s multi-layered performance as the youngster in love with an older but not wiser man. Solid support from a pro cast also helps; Gere is good, too, although the script doesn’t stretch him and the character is not as complete as it might be. In all, I get the feeling that the script was put together in a laboratory, pulling elements into a mixing petrie. They should have got a good English writer to do the final draft, to bring up the subtlety level."
Andrew L. Urban

"Propelled by a gorgeous, jazzy soundtrack, beautiful cinematography and star performances, Autumn in New York is a love story that colours the heart with melancholy. In fact the mood of the film is one of its great strengths, and there's time to reflect and consider some of life's imponderables. But most of the enjoyment comes from wonderfully engaging performances from Richard Gere and Winona Ryder. Gere plays irresistible womaniser convincingly; you know the type - he's on magazine covers, has plenty of green folding stuff and doesn't seeming to work much. Ryder is enchanting – she is vulnerable, feisty, feminine and the epitome of youth and beauty. She is a classic beauty with perfect porcelain skin, thick black lashes and liquid amber eyes. As for that dress she wears on their first date – it's a stunner. Together they make compelling chemistry, despite a touch of melodrama and a few script problems. The main flaw is to do with the credibility of the development of their relationship, which is just a little too speedy. And I do have some reservations about the ending. The elements however, are quite delightful, and we are captivated for much of the time. It's Hollywood working Cupid's bow. Central Park is beautiful with its autumnal colours, and New York's distinctive skyline and personality elicit a strong sense of place. Great supporting performances from Anthony LaPaglia and Elaine Strich, whose no-nonsense grandmother Dolly steals all the best lines. One of my favourites is when she waves an apology for the mess with 'My maid died 14 years ago and I've never been able to replace her…' Gere, Ryder and New York – three good reasons to see it."
Louise Keller

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2

Brad Green's
SOUNDTRACK REVIEW

TRAILER

AUTUMN IN NEW YORK (M)
(US)

CAST: Richard Gere, Winona Ryder, Anthony LaPaglia, Elaine Stritch, Vera Farmiga, Sherry Stringfield

DIRECTOR: Joan Chen

PRODUCER: Amy Robinson, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg

SCRIPT: Allison Burnett

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Changwei Gu ASC, CSC

EDITOR: Ruby Yang

MUSIC: Gabriel Yared

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mark Friedberg

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 23, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Ent

VIDEO RELEASE: May 9, 2001






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