Movie Magazine International

No Looking Back

USA - 1998

Movie Review By Andrea Chase

Well, here's the last thing you'd expect from filmmaker Edward Burns, the guy who brought us "The Brothers McMullen" and "She's the One." This time out, he's written, directed and stars in a sensitive film about dreams forgotten and chances missed told from the woman's point of view. What's more, he's dead on target. You read me right.

In a dreary seaside town, where the salt air peels the paint from houses and dreams from people's souls, bad news arrives early one morning. His name is Charlie, played by Burns, and he's back after a three-year absence to shake up the lives of the people he left behind. Particularly Claudia, the girl he ditched without a word of goodbye and whose heart has not so much mended as carried on.

To say that no one is happy to see him again is an understatement. And for Claudia, who's now living with one of Charlie's buddies, it's a trial by fire. Is what she has what she wants, or is she living a life of quiet desperation? That's the point on which the story turns.

Lauren Holly, as Claudia, really gets the chance to show off her acting chops here and she runs with it. There's a scene with her boyfriend, Michael, just after Charlie arrives. She tells him "We got it good, don't we." Her subtle reading of the line invests it with many layers of meaning simultaneously, reflecting the inner conflicts she's suffering when confronted with her past. She makes that one line as much a plea for reassurance as a statement of fact and a promise for the future.

I was also mightily impressed with super rocker, Jon Bon Jovi, completely believable as Michael, a sweet and grounded working class hero. As with everyone in this film, he eschews any hint of glamour as he plays the guy offering Claudia not just love, but stability, respect and genuine commitment.

I have a feeling that men and women might differ about whether the resolution of this story is a happy ending. What I do know, is that everyone will leave the theater thinking they've seen an engaging film.

© 1998 - Andrea Chase - Air Date: 4/8/98

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