Owen Gleiberman
February 06, 1998 AT 05:00 AM EST

Swept from the Sea

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
performer
Kathy Bates, Ian McKellen, Vincent Perez, Rachel Weisz
director
Beeban Kidron
genre
Romance, Drama

We gave it a D

Swept from the Sea is a Harlequin dud. When Yanko (Vincent Perez), a Russian shipwreck survivor, shows up at an Irish farmhouse looking ratty and smudged and is taken in by the milky-skinned, parted-lipped Amy (Rachel Weisz), you know he’s minutes away from a makeover and an English lesson. In his broken speech, he describes Amy as “a gracious lady, of great beautiful,” and since Yanko, with his Neanderthal poet’s eyes, is of great beautiful too, they fall into each other’s heaving bosoms. Between stale crumbs of plot, the clichés of director Beeban Kidron’s logy generification of the Joseph Conrad novel float by in a haze. There’s the wild-woman-holding-arms-outstretched-in-the-rain scene, the father-lifting-newborn-babe-up-to-the-heavens scene, and the hero-sweating-and-writhing-from-disease scene. Blink and you’ll miss the hint-of-symbolic-incest-that-explains-it-all scene. A viewer becomes grateful for Ian McKellen, who, playing a benevolent physician, enunciates his lines with such cultivated crrrisp-ness that he could be the spokesman for a potato-chip company. D

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