Actor lays down the Law in this “Music From Another Room”

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
June 19, 1998

2.5 stars

Without Jude Law, “Music From Another Room” would be just another so-so film with an improbable plot. But in his role as an artist who believes it is his fate to be with a certain woman, the English actor is so charismatic and convincing that the moviegoer is simply charmed by his presence.

Danny (Law) and Anna (Gretchen Mol) met 25 years ago when, as a shy 5-year-old, he helped with her delivery. Never mind that not even Doogie Howser could untangle umbilical cords in kindergarten and that the youthful-looking Law looks more like a recent college graduate than a  30-year-old.

Danny and Anna meet again by chance. But while it’s obvious that she shares an attraction with him, she’s stubbornly loyal to her boyfriend Eric (Jon Tenney).

In the real world, women long for men like Eric. Handsome, rich and kind to Anna and her family, he is even keeled when other men declare their love for Anna, and forgiving when she confesses that she has been unfaithful to him. But in the movies, such men are presented as drab anti-heros. I’m not giving anything away by saying that his fate is already sealed by the time Danny enters the picture.

As a filmmaker, Charlie Peters has better success as a director than a screenwriter.  The film begins with a drab, monochromatic brown flashback to the ’70s, before the color scheme turns rich and vibrant for the present setting.  But “Another Room” also is filled with overdramatic lines such as, “Danny’s love is so enormous it has spilled onto everyone else,” and “What have I done to you? You sound just like me.”

Thankfully, the actors are appealing, especially Law, Jennifer Tilly as Anna’s blind sister Nina and Vincent Laresca.

Early on in the film, Anna says to Danny, “Why did you ask the question if you already know the answer?” The answer, of course, is that we want our answers validated – which is pretty much why we sit through this film.


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