A Mature Romance
What is it about Harrison Ford? He’s not as handsome as many stars. He’s not the best actor around. Yet he can communicate more with a raised eyebrow than others do with their whole bodies. No one on the screen today projects as much depth of feeling and concern in the midst of crises than this near-legendary actor who has appeared in more blockbuster movies than any other star. In Random Hearts, he’s just as appealing as ever, in spite of the imperfections of Dutch Van Den Broeck, the internal affairs sergeant he portrays.
"I like stories that are not necessarily about heroes," Ford declares --- an unusual comment from someone who has played so many film heroes so convincingly. "What I like to see is people overcoming daunting circumstances, whether they come out whole or diminished by the experience, or are made more capable of understanding by the experience," he adds.
Daunting circumstances abound for Dutch (Ford) in Random Hearts. After his wife dies in an airplane disaster, he becomes almost paranoid when discovering she has been unfaithful to him. His investigation leads to Kay Chandler (Kristin Scott Thomas), the Congresswoman whose husband, also killed in the crash, was his wife’s lover. Because Chandler believes uncovering the truth will harm her chances for re-election, she denies her husband’s indiscretions at first. Scott Thomas says, "Kay does something that is very familiar to me as an English woman. It’s just to go into this deep state of denial, to be able to get on with your life and pretend nothing awful has happened."
This talented Oscar nominee (for The English Patient) has no trouble showing the emotional range needed in a challenging role. She is a wonderful actress, even without her charming British accent. Her elegant femininity contrasts perfectly with Ford’s bruised machismo. As walking wounded survivors attracted to each other in spite of differences in background and temperament, these two make an intriguing romantic couple. It should be no surprise that Scott Thomas teams well with Ford.
After all, doesn’t Hollywood’s most watchable actor create great chemistry with every one of his leading ladies (including Anne Heche in Six Days, Seven Nights)?
As directed by Sydney Pollack (Oscar winner for Out of Africa), this film version of Warren Adler’s 1984 novel seems a bit long and overly somber. Nevertheless, moviegoers who love romance, mystery, and drama will find them all in Random Hearts.
(Released by Columbia Pictures and rated "R" for brief violence, sexuality, and language.)