Cinerama: Serendipity

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Cinerama


By Mike Derderian

My days are turning into nights and my nights into days. Food no longer tastes in my mouth, only water quenches the need of my tired physical existence, leaving the spiritual elation to words that I barely write now or are lost within the cerebral sponge enclosed in my cranium.

Vacant of anything else, words like ‘serendipity’ have been echoing in my head for almost two years, since I first met her at the Italian language class at the university, where I was fortunately invited to attend by two of my colleagues.

If you look up the word ‘serendipity’ in the dictionary, it means to accidentally stumble upon something precious and valuable that you weren’t looking for in the first place.

For humans, love is one of the things they spend a lifetime in search for and try to stumble upon—my search ended two years ago. And to tell you the truth I wasn’t looking at all when I first saw her sitting in that class unaware of what destiny had instilled for the both of us.

Happily in love, yet I find myself nowadays remembering Andrew Marvell’s words:

And yet I quickly might arrive

Where my extended Soul is fixt

But fate does iron wedges drive

And always crowds itself betwixt

Sadly it is not destiny’s cruel hands that separate us, for the time being, but it is the mileage that splits up two countries into different spheres, preventing two hearts from adjoining into one.

Let us stop here, and I’ll fill you in later on the details in another film, for its time to talk about the 2001 romantic motion picture Serendipity, directed by Peter Chelsom and starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Eugene levy, John Corbett and Bridget Moynahan as Halley Buchanan.

The film is about two strangers—Jonathan Trager (Cusak) and Sara Thomas (Beckinsale) who accidentally meet at Bloomingdale’s (a shopping center) during Christmas—and the way destiny will stir their lives.

As the opening shot takes us there with Louis Armstrong’s song “Cool Yule” heard in the background, the viewer is directly placed into the right mood, allowing him to anticipate what will happen next as Jonathan and Sara meet during that serendipitous night. Both of them were romantically involved with other people, when they first met. And Sara believes that life has its own way of matchmaking, so she refuses to give Jonathan her number and decides to play a fate challenging game.

Getting into two different elevators, choosing the same floor is what will determine if they are meant to be together. This scene was one of the funniest and saddest moments in the film; especially, when Jonathan chooses the right floor, but an irritating child decides to push all the buttons in the elevator—and so Jonathan fails to meet Sara at the other end.

Other than being a romantic delightful film for the lovelorn, it offers an enjoyable scheme on how the concept of preordained life operates; so, if you are one of those individuals with a more scientific and practical approach to the world, this film might help you change lanes.

Chelsom’s use of the stop motion camera in most of the artistic shots of New York City created a beautiful time-in-motion scenery with elements such as flickering traffic lights, clouds clustering, dispersing in the orange hued skies and frost formulating and melting on a solar clock implying the passing of time and years.

The special effects with the jazzy motivational fast-rhythmic beat of the soundtrack provided a psychedelic feel for this 90-minute film.

An hour and a half is a short period for a plot to develop, one has to admit, but with the well-written script and the short witty lines that the actors used, the film was amusingly cramped up with an enjoyable lighthearted romance.

Cusack and Beckinsale’s sincere performance will succeed in capturing your admiration, sympathy and affection, as they embody the universal feelings of anxiety, anger and, most importantly, the pain of not being with the one we love.

In some scenes, the movie turns more humorous, as talented actors like Piven and Levy pitched into the action—the former portraying the role of Dean Kansky, Jonathan’s best friend and a sarcastic obituary writer at the New York Times, while the latter plays the role of an opportunist Bloomingdale salesman.

Levy, whom you’d distinctly remember as the annoying, persistent, yet accident prone scientist Walter Kornbluth in the 1984 romantic comedy “Splash”—and to your surprise, despite of his wicked purpose at the beginning of the film, he decides to help Dean and Jonathan to find Sara.

If you serendipitously find this film lying on the shelves of a video store here in Amman, and you will, my advice is to go ahead and rent it, for it will show you in the most miraculous manner how love finds us in the end, not the other way around as most of us believe.


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