Daily Archives: May 11, 1998

Hope Floats

Forest Whitaker is a wonderful actor and a sensitive, if less distinctive, director of other actors. It’s his latter capacity that’s on view hereenhanced by such actors as Sandra Bullock and Gena Rowlands but limited by the absence of fresh material. (Steven Rogers’s script seems sincere enough but it’s awfully familiar.) A former prom queen (Bullock) married to her high school sweetheart and devoted to her daughter (Mae Whitman) discovers on a TV talk show that her best friend is having an affair with her husband, who no longer loves her. Still in a state of shock, she returns to her hometown in Texas with her little girl and tries to get her life back in order. Bullock, Rowlands, Whitman, and others in the castmost notably Harry Connick Jr.acquit themselves as admirably as the pedestrian script allows. (JR) Read more

The Horse Whisperer

The landscapes are lovely and the castRobert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Neill, Dianne Wiest, Scarlett Johannson, and Chris Cooperdoes an honorable job, yet there are times when this leisurely movie seems so much in love with its own virtue and nobility that there’s not much room left for the spectator. Redford directs this apparently upgraded adaptation by Eric Roth and Richard LaGravenese of Nicholas Evans’s best-selling novel, and seems bent on matching or outdoing Clint Eastwood’s The Bridges of Madison County as a class act. After a 14-year-old (Johannson) loses part of her leg and her favorite horse loses its mind in a freak riding accident in New York State, her mother (Scott Thomas), a big-time magazine editor, seeks to revive the girl’s spirits by having the horse cured by a legendary horse whisperer (Redford) in Montana. Too long for what it has to say and too evasive when it comes to spelling out certain key detailslike the financial arrangements (or lack of same) between the mother and the horse whisperer, and the full logic of the latter’s therapythis has loads of craft and honor but never quite takes off. (JR) Read more


This impressive first feature by Jill Sprecher, coscripting with her sister Karen, shows that she has an eye and ear all her own. The focus of this subtle and intelligent comedy is the experience of four office tempsplayed by Toni Collette (Muriel Read more