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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday July 28, 2020 


Groom-to-be Ben Holmes (Ben Affleck) is at his bachelor party, surrounded by friends and family whooping over his "last night of freedom." Ben loves his fiancee Bridget (Maura Tierney), but the doom-and-gloom pronouncements of everyone around him have him questioning the meaning of this 'till death do us part business. Then, on an ill-fated flight from New York to his wedding in Savannah, Ben meets Sarah Lewis (Sandra Bullock), a free-spirited woman with a string of failed careers and relationships behind her. As transportation troubles thwart them at every turn, Ben and Sarah begin a three-day southward journey in which their connection grows ever stronger, Ben seeing in Sarah the chances he's never taken and Sarah seeing in Ben the stability she's never had. What’s he gonna do…?

"Here is the star-vehicle that Sandra Bullock has been waiting for. Bullock simply soars in this delightful quirky romantic comedy, delivering a dazzling, compelling performanc. It's predictable at times, surprising at others, with a fresh energy that always keeps you on the edge of your seat. He's square; she's not. Like Yin and Yan, opposites attract, and we are fascinated. Ben Affleck is well cast as Mr Right, he effects the epitome of conservatism, goodness and well meaning; Bullock is the gypsy, the adventurer, the bewitching sorceress. The irrepressible Steve Zahn makes an appealing addition to the top cast, with plenty of opportunities to strut his stuff. Directed with flair and a light comedic touch, the characters are beautifully written and it is easy to relate to them, to root for them. The issues of marriage, commitment and love are observed from a new angle; it's fun for those embarking on a relationship and fun for those who have been through the mill. It's light hearted, full of charm and will make you sigh with anticipation. The soundtrack taps, moves and takes us into fantasyland, while we embark on a romantic mission that faces the forces of wind, rain and fire, resulting in a whirlpool of delights."
Louise Keller

"Romantic comedies are so predictable, and Forces of Nature may well have been another of those contrived, mainstream films where the obvious happens. But thank God for screenwriter Marc Lawrence. Just when you thought he was sucking you into mainstream territory, he delivers a script that bends and twists in directions that are rare in mainstream Hollywood - actually original. This is a wonderfully real comedy, not one that relies purely on comic situations and peppy one-liners. Sure, those elements are prevalent, but they don't form the backbone of this film. Forces of Nature has screwball elements, coupled with deeply human and real commentary on marriage and responsibility. Lawrence and wonderfully inventive director Bronwen Hughes have taken aspects of comic traditionalism and enhanced those elements. This is a film that is certainly funny, but it has depth to it, and characters who have more to them than meets the eye; neither star disappoints. Bullock can be annoyingly simplistic at times, but here she gives the performance of her career, playing an irresponsible, free spirit with comic subtlety and depth of humanity. Affleck holds his own with a beautifully intricate performance. Other standouts are Maura Tierney and Steve Zahn. Directed with a meticulous fluidity by Bronwen Hughes, Forces of Nature is beautifully shot and superbly executed all round. Exhilarating, profound, touching and funny, this is a cinematic force to be reckoned with."
Paul Fischer

"It begins with promise and invention, but trails off into contrivance, as the Hollywood malaise (schmaltz) is allowed to seep through the final pages of the script. What appears to be a daring escapade into observational romantic comedy/drama becomes less satisfying as the characters are reigned in to submit to mainstream values. All the same, there are some marvelous moments and lots of excellent photography. Performances are multifaceted, within script limitations, which wants to have it both ways: quirky and daring yet mainstream. When we get to the editorial core (long term marriage) the film lays it on a bit with a sequence of dancing oldies in romantic embrace. That’s the scmaltzy side of the film; the other problem is that only the Sarah (Bullock) character is given any dimension (and even that is limited) while Ben (Affleck) and particularly Bridget (Tierney) are treated largely as one dimensional artefacts. This lessens the impact of the story itself, which relies for emotional wallop on us being agitated about the outcome. Thus we are enticed to invest in the Sarah character at the expense of Bridget; this cheats the ending – but I won’t spoil it. In short, by all means see the movie, but keep your expectations in check."
Andrew L. Urban

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Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1





CAST: Sandra Bullock, Ben Affleck, Maura Tierney, Steve Zahn, Blythe Danner, Ronny Cox, Michael Fairman, Janet Carroll, Richard Schiff, David Strickland, Meredith Scott Lynn

PRODUCERS: Susan Arnold, Donna Arkoff Roth, Ian Bryce

DIRECTOR: Bronwen Hughes

SCRIPT: Marc Lawrence


EDITOR: Craig Wood

MUSIC: John Powell


RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes



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