Forces of Nature is a film that I fell in love with from the very start. This film has a sort of charm and style that immediately drew me in, and as the film moved on, it showed that it doesn’t just rely on charm and style to keep me loving it.
Ben Holmes (Ben Affleck) is a guy who writes the blurbs on the inside of book jackets. He and his fiancée Bridget (Maura Tierney) live in New York, but have decided to have their wedding in Savannah. Bridget leaves early for Savannah, while Ben stays behind in New York for a day because of some family complications. Ben, who has a fear of flying, gets unwittingly onto a plane that will take him to Savannah. But, as the plane is about to take-off, it crashes. Stuck with no way to get to Savannah, in comes Sarah (Sandra Bullock) who has struck a deal with a guy named Vic to get to Savannah in a small rented car. As you might have guessed, this is only the beginning of Ben and Sarah’s adventures.
Along the way to Savannah, Ben and Sarah find different modes of transportation. And everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. They encounter fires, rain, hail, and anything else that nature can throw at them. During all of these happenings Ben starts to look at why he is getting married to Bridget. He wonders if he truly loves Bridget or if he is really in love with the free spirited Sarah. The story doesn’t all pertain to Ben though; there is a subplot with Bridget and an old boyfriend. And Sarah is not as big of a free spirit as she initially leads us to believe.
Though a movie can throw gobs of charm and style at an audience, it only carries a film so far. And the director, Bronwen Hughes, and writer, Marc Lawrence, know exactly this. So, although Forces of Nature is full of charm and style, both Ben and Sarah are also fully fleshed out three-dimensional characters that we can relate to and care about. It also helps that Affleck and Bullock have a tangible onscreen chemistry. On top of that Affleck and Tierney also have that same tangible onscreen chemistry. So, as the film goes on we know that someone is going to get hurt, but we don’t want anyone to. And throughout the film we are wondering whom Ben will eventually end up with.
Forces of Nature could have ended up as a mediocre film that is a lump of different other films. But, a smart script, strong performances, and a wonderful sense of style keep the film from that. All through the film there is a sense that the filmmakers know exactly what they want and how they want it to turn out, and this helps the film immensely.
Affleck, who hasn’t really had a lead role in his career, shows that he is lead-role material. He also shows that he is not a one-hit-wonder. Following his brilliant performance in Chasing Amy, his Academy Award for Good Will Hunting, his small and hilarious role in Shakespeare in Love, and his huge presence in last summer’s Armageddon, Forces of Nature is a film that shows that Affleck is here to stay. Kudos to Affleck for a wonderful performance in Forces of Nature.
Bullock, who shot to stardom in Speed and then had a string of miserable failures (Practical Magic and Hope Floats being the latest), comes back with guns blazing. She is able to recapture that girl-next-door persona that we all fell in love with in the film Speed. Kudos to Bullock for a wonderful performance in Forces of Nature.
Though not something that I would have expected from a romantic-comedy, the special effects in Forces of Nature are superb. They are subtle enough not to completely take us out of the film, but stunning enough to make us notice. There are two standout squences: The rain/hail sequence early on in the film and the hurricane/party sequence towards the end of the film. I especially loved the rain/hail sequence.
From the get-go I knew Forces of Nature was a Don’t Miss film. There’s just nothing to hate about this film and everything to love. Don’t Miss Forces of Nature on the big screen. This is a wonderful romantic comedy.