Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Griffin & Phoenix (2006) [PG-13] ***

Griffin (Dermot Mulroney) is a forty-something life insurance salesman whose marriage has come apart, and who treasures the limited time he is able to spend with his two sons. Then he gets the bad news from his oncologist. He has inoperable cancer and has, at most, two years to live.

Soon afterward, while sitting in a university class on the psychology of death and dying, Griffin meets Phoenix (Amanda Peet), an assistant dean at the university who is apparently evaluating the professor's performance. Griffin and Phoenix begin a tentative friendship in which Griffin, with little time left, and nothing to lose, encourages Phoenix to join him in a series of adventures which will fulfill his childhood fantasies, including sneaking into a movie theater, hopping onto a moving freight train, and painting graffiti on a water tower. While their friendship gradually develops into something much more intense, Griffin still has not told Phoenix that he is dying. Then, in a pivotal scene in Griffin's apartment, Phoenix discovers several books on the subject of terminal cancer and how to deal with it, and suddenly their relationship moves to an entirely new and surprising level.

Although this is clearly a low-budget, independent production, the screenplay is well-written, and there is palpable romantic chemistry between Mulroney and Peet. Griffin and Phoenix are believable characters, and we want their relationship to work. Ultimately, however, we must come to the inescapable ending. This film will be best appreciated by fans of Mulroney and Peet, and by those viewers who enjoy romantic dramas with tragic endings, films like The Last SongMessage in a Bottle, Nights in Rodanthe, The Notebook, or Sweet November

Labels: comedy, drama, romance, tragedy     
Internet Movie Database    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=NA, viewers=78)

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