Henry Jaglom’s Déjà Vu (1997)

Déjà Vu (1997)

Synopsis:

American businesswoman, Dana Howard (Victoria Foyt, Last Summer in the Hamptons), meets a mysterious Englishman, Sean (Stephen Dillane, TV’s Game of Thrones), and almost immediately both fall in love. There is a small problem: they’re both married. However, a series of strange circumstances keep bringing them together despite their obvious reservations.

Reaction & Thoughts:

Directed by art-house favorite Henry Jaglom (A Safe Place and Someone to Love), Déjà Vu is one of those films that received great reviews from most critics around the world, but failed to gain the support of its intended audience. This is unfortunate, since this movie is an unusual, intriguing love story — it’s a thinking person’s romantic drama.

I think what makes Déjà Vu such a rewarding experience is the fact that the movie was written, shot, and performed in a very imaginative way. This is not your typical romantic drama, but an observant study of life’s little ironies. Written by Jaglom and his then-wife Foyt, Déjà Vu is designed and executed more like a mystery than an actual love story, with a touch of the supernatural.

Dillane and Foyt play two people from two very different worlds that somehow end up crossing each other’s paths. Is it a coincidence? Could it be destiny? Or are the forces of nature playing matchmaker? Director Jaglom refuses to give viewers the answer to the film’s mysteries, and rather prefers to stimulate the audience’s imagination by leaving the door open for all sorts of interpretations.

Vagueness is usually a detriment in any movie, but here the ambivalent nature of Déjà Vu makes the film look refreshingly original — this is an intellectually demanding film that is able to create many magical moments that will stay with you long after the movie. And Déjà Vu achieves all its goals without ever becoming self-consciously arty. Hanania Baer’s (Masters of the Universe) elegant camerawork is a big plus.

Dillane and Foyt have a nice chemistry. The always fascinating Vanessa Redgrave (Julia and Agatha) and her real-life mother Rachel Kempson (Tom Jones and Out of Africa) have key roles. The fine cast also includes Anna Massey (Frenzy), Glynis Barber (1983’s The Hound of the Baskervilles), Michael Brandon (Lovers and Other Strangers), and Vernon Dobtcheff (An American Haunting).

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Everything about Déjà Vu is first-rate: from the wonderful performances to the international locations (filmed in and around Israel, France, England, and the USA), and to the intriguing and interesting plot — there is absolutely nothing that looks out place in the whole film. Most of the credit should go to the husband-wife team of Foyt and Jaglom, who succeeded in creating an absorbing film experience. Color, 117 minutes, Rated R.

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