Jonathan Trager & Sara Thomas are two strangers in New York madly trying to Christmas shop when they have their meet-cute over a pair of black cashmere gloves. While the two flirt and eventually go to coffee together Sara refuses to believe John’s insistence that they met for a reason until some happy accidents begin to make her think that perhaps this is kismet – but she won’t fall for it. So Sara writes her number inside a book and says she’ll sell it to a used book store, and makes John write his number on a $5 bill on the condition that when either of them finds the other’s number again they’ll know fate wants them together. A few years pass and neither one finds the other, but both are engaged to great people and can’t shake the memory of meeting each other. The weekend before each of their weddings they decided to test fate and see if they can force destiny into finding each other again.
Serendipity is a silly movie, but it is very close to a modern fairy tale and I think that is why I love it – John Cusack & Kate Beckinsale are of course a major reason as well. Kate & John have a great onscreen chemistry which is really important as they actually are apart for most of the movie – this really is a different version of Sleepless in Seattle but the way it is executed makes the film feel entirely fresh.
I think this might be the movie that placed Jeremy Piven on my radar. Serendipity was before Entourage and all the roles that Ari Gold brought him. Piven plays Dean Kansky, Jonathan’s best friend and best man who is also an obit writer for the NY Times. He is all attitude and everything the supportive best friend should be. To quote the film Dean is a “jackass” and it’s a ball to watch.
I used to think that Serendipity was a Christmas movie and watching it again I am not quite sure why. The film may be set during the holiday season, but that is incidental a framing for the meet-cute. I enjoy this movie and the only thing I would change is to give Cusack and Beckinsale more screen time together.
Director: Peter Chelsom
Writer: Marc Klein
Jonathon Trager: John Cusack
Sara Thomas: Kate Beckinsale
Dean Kansky: Jeremy Piven
Lars Hammond: John Corbett
Eve: Molly Shannon
Salesman: Eugene Levy
Halley: Bridget Moynahan
Dean: You know the Greeks didn't write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: "Did he have passion?".