This charming tale has two competing bookstore owners, played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, who contact each other over the internet which eventually blossoms into a “real” relationship. This unique relationship drives the story and gradually change each lead character though time.
Kathleen (Ryan) gets the most sympathy from the audience, mainly because of her situation and competing business tactics from Joe (Hanks). Ryan was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in this movie and gives solid, underrated performances instead of relying on her general appeal which is arguably the highest among actresses.
The supporting characters played by Greg Kinnear, Dabney Coleman, Jean Stapleton, Dave Chapelle, Steve Zahn, and Parker Posey mainly function as friends who just filter through the story sympathizing and dealing with Joe and/or Kathleen’s issues. The supporting roles could have been expanded more to utilize the full talents of the secondary stars, but the filmmakers wisely focus on Hanks and Ryan.
Ephron’s direction enlightens and prop setting gives the leads more depth, but the mostly insignificant supporting characters just filter through the story and listen to the respective lead character’s problem. The supporters plays a part in decisions made by the leads, but mostly represent good stars who got their roles cut in the editing by being in a movie with too many good actors in it already.
The art direction, set design and cinematography add significant enhancements to the core romantic relationship as Hanks and Ryan complete their “hat trick” as one of the greatest romantic pairings ever after Joe Vs. the Volcano (1990) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993).
This 119 minute romance helps keep the “love” genre alive with quality performances that entertain on high levels. Recommended (***1/2 out of four stars) for its modern portrayal of love at the beginning of the Internet age and many well written scenes that overcome any out-of-date elements to draw the audience closer to the already attractive lead characters.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler