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Tomei is radiant in formula romance of Only You


Directed by Norman Jewison.

Written by Diane Drake.

Starring Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., Bonnie Hunt, Joaquim de Almeida, and Fisher Stevens.

Loews Copley Place.

By Evelyn Kao
Staff Reporter

For a cold-hearted and mechanical-minded audience, Only You may be seen as yet another example of the Sleepless in Seattle genre, which is best avoided. Concerned with the universal topics of destiny, fate, and love, Only You is the story of Faith Corvatch (Marisa Tomei), a quirky school teacher from Pittsburgh.

The movie starts off with a flashback to an 11-year-old Faith playing with a Ouija board, when she finds out that her soulmate is someone named Damon Bradley. Fourteen years later, Faith is about to be married to a boring, stable podiatrist, but is having doubts. Her best friend and sister-in-law, Kate (Bonnie Hunt), is having problems with her husband Larry (Fisher Stevens). The extremely stereotyped characterizations and the men-are-scum attitude make for a shaky start, but luckily, things quickly take an interesting turn.

Faith and Kate escape their dead-end marital lifestyles when they flee to Italy, determined to track down Damon Bradley. This is supposed to be Faith's last chance with destiny, and Kate's break from a loveless life. Together, they travel through the breathtaking country side where romance is all around. The Italy found in Roman Holiday and A Room With a View is exploited in all its glory; it is a movie of midnight walks, gondoliers, opera, palatial hotels, and elegant shoes.

While in Rome, Faith literally runs into Peter (Robert Downey, Jr.). He is immediately smitten. This comes as no surprise, as Marisa Tomei is extremely engaging as Faith. She alludes to the great on-screen actresses like Audrey Hepburn and Ava Gardner to draw in the audience. In Only You, her charm shows through, and with the help of designer Melana Cavinero's dresses, the viewer is helpless to resist.

Despite Peter's certainty that they were meant to be together, Faith is fixed on finding her "soulmate," Damon Bradley. The plot develops further when Kate meets Giovanni (Joaquim de Almeida), a suave Italian with a Ferrari, "who knows all the right things to say."

With the remainder of the film, director Norman Jewison light-heartedly pokes fun at the differences between Italy and the United States. The movie is not as predictable as you might think.

Only You is an amusing, enjoyable film. For those of us who are still hopeful romantics, it's a movie guaranteed to elicit a smile and a blissful attitude.