Simple Twist of Fate, A

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1/2

Steve Martin wrote and stars in this touching drama, which is based on, of all things, the classic novel, "Silas Marner." After one brief but devastating remark from his wife, school teacher Michael McCann (Martin) changes from a happy, expectant father to a reclusive, bitter carpenter. McCann moves to a small Virginia town where he earns a reputation as a reclusive, miserly skilled craftsman who restore antiques for the wealthy. His only friend is the local antique dealer, Mrs. Simon (Catherine O'Hara). All is not well in the seemingly cozy town, however. Corrupt politicians manipulate elections, city and county courts and land development for their own personal gain. Ambitious, wealthy John Newland (Gabriel Byrne) must make sure his former mistress and illegitimate baby daughter never become public knowledge. By a simple twist of fate, the toddler literally stumbles into Michael's isolated cabin after her mother dies in a snowstorm. The instant bonding of these two results in two legal battles for Michael, the first to legally adopt the child he has named Mathilda, and the second to challenge the biological father's claim to her years later. Michael's creative fun-loving personality blossoms again in his role of a single parent. Overall, SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE is a feel-good movie for teenagers and adults.

Rated PG-13 because of some adult situations, this movie delivers some very positive messages about family love and loyalty. Mathilda's biological father steps forward to claim her only because his wife is unable to have children. <%-5>Newland assumes he can buy Mathilda's affection. Mathilda matures into a very astute, loyal daughter who understands that blood is not necessarily thicker than water. Before the child appears, Michael drinks heavily to blot out his loneliness, and Newland's drunken, drug-addicted brother and mistress are shown briefly using drugs. A fatal car crash results in two deaths, with a fleeting view of a victim's bloody face. Also, a gruesome skeleton might upset young children. Unfortunately, however, some foul language includes two obscenities and one regular profanity. With its wholesome portrayal of a father-daughter relationship, SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE is almost a winner.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Buena Vista Distribution, 3900 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91521

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Crude (8) times - Mild 5, Moderate 3

Obscene Language: Few (2) times (s-word)

Profanity: Few (2) times - Regular (J) 1, Exclamatory 1

Violence: Few times - Moderate (car wreck with bloody face of corpse shown, gruesome view of skeleton)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: One slang reference to sex

Drugs: Few times (drug addicts shown shooting heroine; drunkenness few times but not condoned; social drinking at parties)

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Teenagers and adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.