A sensitive, well-directed movie, "Sweet November" succeeds in transforming the oft-used idea of loving-and-leaving into a touching portrayal of learning how to live through and for love. Nelson (Reeves) is the ambitious man caught up in being the winning rat in the race. Sarah (Theron) is the Bohemian child, living an existence unfettered by the shackles of everyday routine. A bit like "Dharma and Greg", the movie follows their lives for the month of November, in which Nelson learns that there is more to life than just climbing the career ladder, and also falls in love with Sarah.
Since we already know that there are no fairy tales in life, and the prince and princess do not live happily ever after, it turns out that Sarah has cancer. Although the plot seems old-hat (remember "Love Story", anyone?), O'Connor's direction avoids customary scenes of sorrow and manages to guide the movie through moments that the common man can relate to, thus preventing the movie from becoming a melodramatic act of unfinished love. Taking the dogs for a walk, dinner with the neighbours - who can't relate to that?
Theron and Reeves put up a superb performance, and the chemistry between them is palpable; you may remember this from their previous collaboration, "The Devil's Advocate". The soundtrack is haunting - "Only Time" by Enya is a magical track, and the remainder of the musical score sets the tone and mood of the scenes very weel. The photography and direction are also expert, with the ending shot in a way that leaves it imprinted in one's memory. Altogether, a movie that reminds you that life is sometimes bitter and sometimes sweet...but always worth living!This article was first published on 09 Jul 2001.