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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Passionada
Directed by Dan Ireland
Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment 09/03 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG - 13: some sensuality and a conversation about drugs

In the opening scene of this very appealing romantic drama, Celia (Sofia Milos) is accompanying her daughter, Vicky (Emmy Rossum), and her mother-in-law, Angelica (Lupe Ontiveros), in a procession to the waterfront in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in remembrance of the fishermen, including Celia's husband, who died in a storm seven years earlier. She works as a seamstress by day and at night sings her native fado music in a local restaurant. Although still a striking woman in this Portuguese-American community, Celia continues to honor her husband by not dating anyone. This is a source of constant mystification to her rambunctious daughter who sets her up with a man she finds through an Internet dating service. He turns out to be nothing more than horny adolescent, and Celia admonishes Vicky not to try that stunt again.

Charlie Beck (Jason Isaacs), an English drifter and professional gambler, is in town to visit his best friends Daniel (Seymour Cassel) and Lois Vargas (Theresa Russell), who are enjoying the fruits of their past in gambling world. Charlie meets Vicky at a casino where she tries to convince him to teach her to count cards at the blackjack table. He brushes her off. Later he visits the restaurant where Celia is singing. Awed by her beauty and talent, he tries unsuccessfully to convince her to have a drink with him. Eventually he must rely upon Vicky in his new crusade to connect with her mother.

Dan Ireland directs this unusual romantic drama about the efforts of a creative Englishman with an unsavory career to express his love for a woman whose loyalty to the past is formidable. Eventually, Charlie and Celia are able to open up to each other only by living in the present moment with honesty and commitment to a future they both want. Sofia Milos is perfect as the stunningly beautiful Celia, and Emmy Rossum is just right as her alluring daughter. Jason Issacs has the requisite charm needed to bring this love story home to our hearts.


The DVD has commentary from the director, cast, writer, and executive producer, plus an alternate ending and deleted scene, both with optional director's commentary.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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