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Serendipity

Year: 2001
Director: Peter Chelsom
Cast: John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Bridget Moynahan
The best example of a romantic comedy in ages. More serious and sophisticated than most comic romances (also thankfully without the enormous dollops of saccharine) it proves that romance can be beautiful without being sickly or bumbling.

John (Cusack) and Sara (Beckinsale) run into each other by chance in a department store and it's love at first sight, even though they both have lovers - John even getting married in a few days.

After an evening in wonderment of each others' company and a discussion on the nuances of fate and destiny, Sara is determined to leave their being together in the lap of the gods, convinced it'll happen if it's the right thing. Through an irreverent string of bad timing and the harsh hand of fate, they miss each other and it seems lost forever.

The rest of the movie deals with both of them having committed to other relationships, haunted in the backs of their minds about what could have been, convinced they were made for each other.

With literally hours to go, both throw caution in the wind and go in search of each other across the country, desperate to see what chance there is, desperate even to lay eyes on each other again before their inevitable meeting and heart wrenching first kiss.

It's never run of the mill - things never happen when you think they will in the very well written story, and the charisma and chemistry of the leads make you fall in love with both of them in every scene.

There are moments of genuine emotion that pluck your heartstrings like a harp - a standout example is when John's fiancee gives him his wedding present; the book Sara signed years before with her phone number that he's searched for ever since.

The mock obituary played by John's friend Dean (played by John Cusack's producing buddy Jeremy Piven) lifts the proceedings above any Hollywood rom-com norm in a tribute to a man gambling everything on finding the woman he believes he loves - it's that spirit of wild, alive freedom and hope that embodies everything that makes Serendipity beautiful.

Of course, there are some typical rom-com flourishes, including Eugene levy as the snide Bloomingdale's clerk, and while they're funny, they don't add to the true mystique and beauty of falling in love the rest of the film offers.

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