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Only You (1994)

Film review: Only You (1994), directed by Norman Jewison

When Faith Corvatch (Marisa Tomei) is a girl, a Ouija board, and later a fortune teller, tells her the love of her life will be named Damon Bradley. Life goes on. Faith grows up and is about a week away from marrying someone completely different when she takes a message to her to-be-husband, from a man about to shoot off to Venice, so he can’t make the wedding. The man’s name is Damon Bradley.

Faith gets her sister-in-law Kate (Bonnie Hunt) to go with her to Italy, chasing after the man who, for all intents and purposes, is meant to be her soulmate. Kate, on the other hand, is more preoccupied with being wooed by the handsome Giovanni (Joaquim de Almeida), with whom she’s considering having an affair, as relations with husband Larry (Fisher Stevens) have not been the greatest for a good long while.

However, the two happen to come across a handsome, American man (Robert Downey Jr), who might just be The One … Oh, and there’s Billy Zane in swimming trunks as well. Just thought I’d throw that one out there.

I remember seeing this film years and years ago. After seeing it again, it still contains a cutesey love story with a happy ending. There is plenty of scenery to show everyone how beautiful Italy is, and did I mention Billy Zane in a swimming pool?

The downside is that Faith as a character is ridiculously neurotic. If you’re eleven or fourteen, the belief that someone can tell you the name of your future husband is cute and essentially harmless. When you’re an adult, and decide to take the first plane out to a different continent ten days before your wedding … you’re kinda weird. Especially when you stalk the guy across a foreign country.

And the whole thing about how aghast she is at Kate’s “my marriage sucks, so I plan on gettin’ me some Italian nookie while I’m here” attitude is … well, if Kate’s husband was my brother, I guess I’d be upset on his behalf. Faith’s main concern seemed to be that Kate having an affair would wreck Faith’s own fantasies about living happily ever after. Umm …? (I might be misremembering here, I’m not sure. The film kinda went in one eye and out the other, so to speak.)

How can these ordinary people in romcoms afford to just jump on a transatlantic flight on a whim anyway? They don’t exactly come cheap. Then again, wasn’t Faith marrying a doctor or something? I wonder how he felt about her deciding to shoot off to Europe and get cold feet. I don’t seem to remember anything about that, because the film was too preoccupied with being cute about Faith’s stalking of some guy her forgotten fiancé used to know in high school, and falling in love with Robert Downey Jr.

Okay, actually, there is a point there. You could do a lot worse than falling in love with Robert Downey Jr, let’s be honest. This film was made before his dealings with the law, so the previous statement probably wouldn’t have been true at the time, but nowadays, he’s Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes and all kinds of scrumptious.

The question remaining here is possibly, “what does Marisa Tomei do nowadays?” (a lot of award-winning stuff, apparently – fair play to her!) and the feeling of “well, that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside … what else is on?”

Only You is a nice little escapist romcom that ticks all the boxes for being cute and awwww-worthy while at the same time requiring you to put your sense of disbelief on hold because it’s just a wee bit unbelievable perhaps, but romantic comedies are meant to have a ending leaving you on an endorphin high, and this film certainly delivers.

3 out of 5 fake Damon Bradleys.

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on. Might get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted along the way.

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