Sweet November (2001) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Sweet November (2001) is not possible to review without writing spoilers. If you want a plot rundown, read Berardinelli's pan of the film (1 1/2) stars. I will say that I see his points, but not his score. I was very impressed by Charlize Theron in this role, as she plays a dowdy bohemian -- not an easy task for a statuesque beauty, and I believed the character.

I did enjoy the first half of the film (boy meets girl) a lot more than the second (boy loses girl), but the film looked wonderful. When you are filming two beauties, Charlize Theron and San Francisco, you have a good start already. Both Theron and co-star Keanu Reeves have developed into very good performers. The film looks good, and worked for me, much more in the first half than the second.    

Scoop's comments in yellow:

"Sweet November" is a remake of a 1968 movie with Anthony Newley and Sandy Dennis, which I've never seen, primarily because of a medically unexplained allergy to both Anthony Newley and Sandy Dennis. Or maybe I have seen it, but I seem not to have any memories of the entire year of 1968, a condition which I believe to be related to the pulmonary ingestion of preventative glaucoma medication. 


The film is rated PG-13, but had three Charlize Theron nip slips in radically different places in the film, and lots of pokiosity.
Look, let me be honest here. I don't like weepy-ass dyin' woman movies, and I don't like "kooky woman brings new dimension to the life of uptight asshole" movies. I've never seen one of either that I could stand, and this is both, so watching it was an excruciatingly painful experience, and I spent a lot of time talking back to the TV, and occasionally throwing things at it.

Back in college, I once beat a guy senseless just because he liked "The Sterile Cuckoo". He was a great guy, a good friend, and if he had survived the beating he probably would have discovered a cure for cancer or overpopulation, but there are some things a man just has to do. I couldn't allow somebody with kooky-woman-likin' genes to breed, could I? The police investigated, and at first declared it a great tragedy, but when I told them the reason, they ended up giving me one of those special Mayor's awards for cleaning up the city. They covered it up in the press by saying the guy was a war criminal, and I had brought him to justice.

Well this movie IS "The Sterile Cuckoo", cross-bred with "Love Story", and then overlaid with the offbeat friends from "Four Weddings and a Funeral".

 I am not kidding when I say it has ALL of the following:

1. a cute puppy who softens the heart of a real scrooge.

2. a bravely dyin' woman.

3. a quirky woman who brings new life to an uptight guy with a Type-A personality

4. a wide-eyed little boy desperate for an adult man to be his surrogate dad.

5. the de rigueur zany but compassionate transvestite neighbors

Honest to God, they got every one of those in the same movie. The only item missing from the "flagrant appeals for sympathy" is a Nazi. Thankfully, Charlize Theron did not defeat any Nazis at any time during the course of this film, but I'm sure that is only because the writer never thought to make the evil Frank Langella character a former SS officer. He was certainly one-dimensional and arrogant enough!

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1

  • behind the scenes documentary

  • there are no deleted scenes, so it appears that the bathtub sex scene is lost forever

Bubba, unless you have a predilection for this kind of stuff, this is a bad as it gets. It is just about as blatantly insincere and manufactured as a syrupy Hollywood chick-flick can be.

And yet, I have mixed feelings about the movie. It was obviously churned out by the Hollywood assembly line as a mass-manufactured product, yet it does throw its heart in the right place. It is not mean or violent, and its only message is that we should love more, and bring the people we love closer to us. It's really difficult to be completely mean to anyone with a message so naively gentle in an all too cynical world.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: one and a half stars. Ebert 1/4, Berardinelli 1.5/4, Apollo 48

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 17% positive overall, 19% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 5.4, Apollo users 62/100
  • With their dollars ... the film did over $11m on opening weekend, but died quickly with a total US box office of $25m against a $40m budget. 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics - or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C (Tuna) to C- (Scoopy). Scoop's note: With this score,  I have tried to distinguish between what I like and what others might like. The film is false, but you may have some tolerance for that. You might like "kooky chick and uptight guy" movies. You might even like weepy-ass dyin' woman movies. If you do, this one has solid production values, beautiful locales, and capable stars.

Return to the Movie House home page