When fiftysomething Manhattan restaurateur Will Keane (Richard Gere) meets 21-year-old Charlotte Fielding (Winona Ryder), it’s only a matter of time before she becomes the latest notch on his bedpost. But Will is surprised to find he has feelings for his new conquest that go beyond the fleeting rewards of a one-night stand. They might be able to overcome the 30-year age difference and his serial philandering, but there’s one barrier to their love that can’t be crossed: an incurable heart ailment that could make Charlotte’s first romance her last.
Of all Hollywood’s leading men Gere has aged the most gracefully, so seeing him seduce the gamine Miss Ryder is not the stomach-churner you might suspect. But "Autumn in New York" - the second movie from actress turned director Joan Chen, soon to be seen in the infinitely superior ensemble comedy "What’s Cooking?" - still proves unsettling thanks to the nauseating amount of glucose sentiment that infuses this predictable slice of doomed amour.
The biggest problem is the way Gere’s character takes centre stage at the expense of Ryder’s. Will may be a mega-successful businessman with all the poontang he could ever need, but we’re supposed to feel sorry for him on account of his shallow bachelor lifestyle and the illegitimate daughter (Vera Fermiga) he has never known. In contrast, Winona’s short time on earth is somehow made relevant by her turning Gere’s carefree bachelor into a sensitive New Age Guy. There’s not much Ryder can do with such a flagrantly two-dimensional cipher.
"Autumn In New York" is released in UK cinemas on Friday 15th June 2001.
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