It's better in the other room


Like most relationships, the one that's central to "Music From Another Room" takes a while to get going. So does the movie, but stick with it and you'll watch unfold a most beguiling romance.

Little matter that it's not the romance the film is built on, a rather soulless pairing between a romantic who's been carrying a torch for 25 years and a pragmatic who can't squeeze passion into her schedule.

Rather, the great romance here is between a blind woman and a geek in a robin's egg blue tux, two misfits who open new worlds for each other. This is the couple you'll want to know more about, the one you'll pray stays together, the one you'll be glad you met.

That other one? Yeah, well, whatever. What were their names again?

That would be Danny and Anna, your basic mismatched couple destined -- and destiny's a big deal here -- to be together. For it was a 5-year-old Danny who helped deliver Anna into this world, using his tiny hands to help his physician father (a nice turn by Baltimore's own Kevin Kilner) with a tricky delivery. A few weeks later, Danny and dad are off to London to live, but not before Danny assures his father he'll marry that girl someday.

Fast forward 25 years. Events have conspired to bring Danny (Jude Law) back stateside, and his job as a deliveryman takes him -- told you destiny was a big deal here -- to Anna's house, where's he's recognized by her mom (Brenda Blethyn).

And then Anna (Gretchen Mol) walks in, and Danny turns out to be one lucky guy ... he's been carrying the torch for one fabulous-looking babe. Two problems, however: she's a control freak who brooks no babble from anyone, and she's engaged.

It's not hard to see where this couple is headed, and hard as Law and Mol try, watching them isn't nearly as much fun as writer-director Charlie Peters wants it to be.

But Anna has a blind sister, Nina, who takes an immediate liking to Danny (he reads "Anna Karenina" to her). He takes her places no-frills Anna would never dare -- including a nightclub, where she meets Jesus (Vincent Laresca), whose clothes, moves and taste are decidedly retro -- and were even laughable in the '70s.

Nina is played by Jennifer Tilly, and it's a real pleasure to finally see her playing a character who's not a cartoon. Tilly's marvelous, and the scenes between Nina and Jesus are joyous and heartfelt. Simply by introducing Nina to the guys at work, Jesus gains the sort of confidence he's never known, a favor he returns by teaching Nina to ride a bike and, for perhaps the first time in her life, accomplish something on her own.

There's is a wonderful relationship -- one, unfortunately, a couple like Danny and Anna will never know, regardless of how much destiny they can invoke.

'Music from Another Room'

Directed by Charlie Peters

Starring Jude Law, Gretchen Mol and Jennifer Tilly

Released by Orion

Rated PG-13 (Language, sexual situations)

Sun score ***

Pub Date: 6/19/98

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