The Austin Chronicle

Mr. Jones

Directed by Mike Figgis. Starring Richard Gere, Lena Olin, Anne Bancroft, Tom Irwin, Delroy Lindo, Lauren Tom, Bruce Altman, Lisa Malkiewicz.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Oct. 15, 1993

You can tell, from the very beginning, that this is a film that was made with very high hopes and noble aspirations. Cut from two very different bolts of Hollywood cloth -- the love story and the story of madness -- the film valiantly struggles to weave these disparate elements together into a cohesive, moving whole, and unfortunately falls far short of the mark, ending up as a contrived, wholly mercenary debacle cut through with just the sort of painful melodrama the cast and crew tried so obviously to avoid. Gere is the mysterious Mr. Jones, a high-flying manic depressive who comes into the care of therapist Libbie Bowen (Olin) when he tries to “fly” off the roof of a construction site he's been working on. Gere's manic character is irrepressible, running up to women he's never met and kissing them full on the lips, spending money like water, tipping $100 bills, running, jumping, singing, dancing. Bowen, troubled herself by a recent romantic failure (of which we catch only the briefest of glimpses), knows full well that Mr. Jones is past due for a depressive crash, and in the course of her therapy with him, she somehow crosses that extremely thin line between caring for a patient and loving one. This, then, is where the film itself crashes, pulling out all the patented Hollywood stops and trying, very hard indeed, to get the audience to weep along with its tear-stained characters. It doesn't work, not the least reason being the odd perception (on the audience's part) that this film has been fiddled with and fiddled with until the post-production tinkerings are as glaringly obvious as the poorly camouflaged plot holes. Gere is excellent as this disturbed fellow; his twitches and too-happy smile are right on the money, but this only serves to illuminate the ramshackle state of the rest of the film, which is a shame: good, honest films dealing with mental illness are exceedingly few and far between. This, however, is not one of them.

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