Release Date: March 27, 1992
Runtime: 101 minutes
Director: Paul Michael Glaser
Cast: D.B. Sweeney; Moira Kelly; Roy Dotrice; Terry O’Quinn; Dwier Brown
Ask anyone. I’m a sucker for any movie that ends with the lovers kissing, the music swelling, and the picture fading to black. It doesn’t matter how good the rest of the movie is, if the closing shot is of a gentle kiss backed up by some romantic power ballad on the soundtrack, I’m hooked; the movie has me. This movie [SPOILER, I guess…I mean, how do most PG-rated romantic movies end?] ends this way. The preceding hour and a half are pleasant enough, but the final shot of the kiss kicks it up a few notches in my book.
The movie is, essentially, romance-by-rote. Not one beat left unticked. All basics are represented: the mismatched couple (DB Sweeney as a former hockey player forced out of the pros due to an eye injury, and Moira Kelly as a rich-bitch champion figure skater who can’t seem to keep a partner), the kindly coach (Roy Dotrice) who sees more in his athletes than they do in themselves, the snob fiancé, you get the idea. No points if you can guess if the unloving father eventually cracks a proud smile as he watches his daughter skate for the gold at the end.
Somehow, though, despite the fact that these archetypes have been around since the dawn of cinema, it all goes down smoothly. Much of this movie’s appeal has to do with the leads, Sweeney and Kelly, who seem to have an easy chemistry with one another. As played, the tension these two characters wade through is coming more from a genuinely loving place rather than a sexual, lustful place, so it makes the central romance much more tender. Sweeney and Kelly pull off the requisite sarcastic “I hate you” banter toward the beginning with conviction, yet not so much that you never for one second feel as though a) the actors hated each other off set or something, or b) the characters won’t end up together at the end. It’ s all very sweet and harmless bickering.
Aside from Sweeney and Kelly, it helps if you like figure skating, as there is a lot of it in the movie. How much the leads did on their own, I have no idea, but it’s convincing and the skating sequences are well shot and choreographed.
Essentially, if you’re a pre-teen girl at heart (and I believe that I am, as my love for One Direction will attest), you will love this movie.
It’s worth noting that screenwriter Tony Gilroy went on to pen such prestigious pictures as “The Devil’s Advocate” (one of my all-time favorites), “Michael Clayton,” and “Duplicity.” He has also written all four “Bourne” movies…not bad for someone who started out with piffle on the ice!
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