It Could Happen To You is an adult fairy tale set in New York City and narrated by Angel, a newspaper photographer who has a keen eye for stories that stir the soul. Charlie, played by Nicolas Cage, is a decent Queens policeman who plays stick ball with the kids in his neighborhood and yearns for a family of his own. But Rosie Perez as his wife Muriel is on a different wavelength. All she wants is a larger place to live, a new wardrobe, and plenty of spending money.
Trying to keep his wife happy, Charlie buys a lottery ticket. After having a cup of coffee in a luncheonette, he realizes that he doesn't have enough money to leave a tip. Yvonne, a hard-luck waitress played by Bridget Fonda, chalks it up to just one more thing gone against her. She's just been forced into bankruptcy by her estranged husband and is not impressed when Charlie promises that he'll split any lottery winnings with her. Imagine her surprise, then, when Charlie wins the big one and, true to his word, gives Yvonne two million out of his four million dollar winnings. To Charlie his word is his badge of honor. Muriel, however, is unable to forgive Charlie for giving their money away to a stranger.
Charlie and Yvonne turn out to be soul mates. She buys the luncheonette and instiutes a "Charlie Lang Table" offering free food for the homeless. After he's shot in the line of duty, he gives away $10,000 to a police charity. The press picks up their good deeds which include giving away free subway tokens and taking the kids in Charlie's neighborhood out to Yankee Stadium for a day of pretending they are major league baseball players. Director Andrew Bergman draws out pleasing performances from Cage and Fonda as these lovers who seem to derive great satisfaction in doing good.
The Jewish thinker and theologian Abraham Heschel noted near the end of his life: "I used to admire intelligent people. As I grow older, I admire kind people." It Could Happen To You goes straight to the heart with its glowing celebration of the virtues of kindness and generosity. This delightful movie will make you feel giddy and glad to be alive!