After a serious car accident a successful architect is forced to reassess his life. Whereas before he lived and worked with his cold wife as well as young whiny daughter, he was also having an affair with an exciting young woman. Through flashbacks we are able to see the contrast in both parts of his relationship before and after.
Zipping along at 80 mph through gorgeous, lush Vancouver scenery in his gorgeous silver Mercedes Roadster, which matches his gorgeous silver mane, trendsome architect Vincent Eastman (Gere) rounds a bend only to spot a stalled hippie van in one lane and a Mack truck barrelling towards him in the other. He skids gorgeously, in slow motion initiating two hours' worth of flashbacks, and flashbacks within flashbacks, that unveil the events leading up to his imminent hospitalisation.
Events which basically boil down to a man forced to choose between a life of comfortable boredom with his frosty but well-connected wife Sally (Stone) and their pre-anorexic teenage daughter, or one brimming with passion and unpredictability with his vibrantly kooky carrot-topped mistress Olivia (Davidovich).
Sound like a French film? Well, it was Claude Sautet's 1970 melodrama Les Choses De La Vie which has been given the expensive Hollywood star vehicle treatment by Rydell. Despite being separated, Gere and Stone still have to work together every day in their massively successful architecture firm Eastman & Eastman. Slobbered over by two stunning women, he makes one choice, has an epiphany, changes his mind and makes another, then dashes along in his Roadster until Fate intervenes. Along the way, the audience is required to feel sorry for this rich, pampered adulterer because his emotionally frigid wife would rather schmooze clients over the phone than rustle bathrobes with Gere.
Stone speaking in that irksome half-whisper she picked up on Sliver unleashed a P.R. blitzkrieg that she wanted to play the Wife rather than the Other Woman, and whatever her limitations as an actress, there's no denying she has real Star Presence, but the Grace Kelly woman-wronged routine just doesn't suit her talents. This isn't unbearable by any means, just ill-advised and rather soulless, plundering a philosophic, moody and subtle Gallic character study about personal torment and the ephemeral nature of life with a fat Hollywood budget and glamour casting. It's a glossy morality tale told with impeccable taste, but though shallow and pointless, at least everyone looks great.
Once more Hollywood looks abroad for their next blockbuster and once more they don't even come close to the original. With thoughts towards global success the studios give it two handsome leads and a dramatic setting but somehow all they succeed in doing is highlighting the faults of the original.