Paradise Movie Review

0
0
Subscribe Melanie Griffith
Paradise was supposed to be a star vehicle for Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson -- who were then on something like their eighth marriage and running on star power fumes. This was not exactly Burton and Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The couple is not the reason to watch this down home drama; it's the secondary plot that resonates. When you're a kid, there are moments when the curtain gets pulled away from the world you know and reality starts making some unpleasant appearances. That realization is tenderly presented in the performances from a prepubescent Elijah Wood and Thora Birch (Ghost World).

The kids, both outsiders, become friends and allies over a memorable summer. For Wilbur (Wood), being out of place is a way of life. At his upscale private school, his scholarship status separates him from his more affluent classmates. Things are no better in the rough neighborhood he calls home, where his quiet demeanor and schoolboy uniform make him a perfect target for bullies.

Further complicating matters is that his father hasn't been home in months. Hoping to sort this mess out, Wilbur's pregnant mother ships him off to a sleepy fishing town to stay with her childhood friend Lily (Griffith). The house is something out of a commercial for laundry detergent, but the sullen couple doesn't belong there. Since their young son died two years ago, Lily has lived in a cocoon of grief, while her husband Ben (Johnson) has grown increasingly irritated with her moping.

Wilbur looks to be an afterthought, but soon Lily and Ben warm to him and appear to inch toward reconciliation. Only Lily is in a blue period whose end doesn't look near. It's in this area where the movie struggles because director/writer Mary Agnes Donoghue constantly hammers us over the head with reminders of Lily and Ben's impasse -- the clipped conversations, the sullen encounters, the revisiting of the past. It all gets repetitive very quickly, and a miscast Griffith doesn't improve things. There's a small array of roles that Griffith is meant for, and long-suffering, earthy housewives aren't among them. That's Laura Linney territory. Johnson, however, gives a fine performance, convincingly transitioning from stoic to softie.

Wood and Birch's subplot of discovery and friendship keeps you engaged. Though Wood is excellent, Birch gives Paradise the human touch that Johnson and Griffith's plot lacks. You want to see her learn the tough lessons, but you pray she comes out as precocious and spirited as she did before. For an hour and 40 minutes, Thora Birch becomes your child and the reason to watch the movie.

0
0
Subscribe Melanie Griffith

Comments

Paradise Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG-13, 1991

Advertisement

More Melanie Griffith

Automata Trailer

Jacq Vaucan (Antonio Banderas) is working as an insurance agent for ROC Robotics Corporation in the dystopian world of 2044. In a world where human...

Melanie Griffith Begins Procedure To Remove Antonio Banderas Tattoo

Melanie Griffith wants a fresh start after her 18-year marriage with Antonio Banderas came to an end.The 56 year-old actress split from her longtime husband...

Antonio Banderas Romantically Linked To Sharon Stone & Bollywood Star Mallika Sherawat

Rumours surrounding Antonio Banderas and soon-to-be ex-wife Melanie Griffith's love life have run amuck in the weeks following the announcement of their separation. Sharon Stone...

They Were "So In Love": So What Went Wrong For Antonio Banderas And Melanie Griffith?

Power couple Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith, the beacon of hope and an icon of longevity when it come to Hollywood relationships, have split after...

Advertisement

Melanie Griffith Divorcing Antonio Banderas: Hollywood's Flagship Marriage Crumbles

Melanie Griffith is to divorce Antonio Banderas after 18 years of marriage. The acting couple have allegedly been living apart for several months but have...

Melanie Griffiths & Antonio Banderas Divorcing - What We Know So Far

Cue the unpleasant tattoo removal! Melanie Griffiths and Antonio Banderas are divorcing and Griffith's heart tattoo of Antonio's name will certainly need to go. Just...

Forest Whitaker Takes Family To 'Black Nativity' NY Premiere - Part 3

'Black Nativity' Forest Whitaker arrived with his wife Keisha Nash Whitaker and daughter Sonnet Whitaker at the movie's New York premiere held at the Apollo...

Dakota Johnson And Melanie Griffith Play Happy Families At NY Premiere Of 'Don Jon' - Part 3

'Ben and Kate' star Dakota Johnson and her mother 'Working Girl' actress Melanie Griffith are seen holding hands on arriving on the red carpet of...

Advertisement