Review: Young-adult romance ‘Finding You’ is on a quest for the obvious
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To convey the experience of the young-adult romance “Finding You,” here are some characters: There’s protagonist Finley Sinclair, a tall, blond violinist; heartthrob actor Beckett Rush and unfeeling manager-father Montgomery Rush; Beckett’s shallow costar Taylor Risdale; and there are regular Irish folks named Seamus (who is habitually drunk), Molly and Patrick.
That’s what you’re in for.
Based on Jenny B. Jones’ novel “There You’ll Find Me,” “Finding You” finds Finley (Rose Reid) following the fraternal footsteps of her deceased brother to Ireland, land of saints and scholars. The college-age American is a technically accomplished player trying to get into a conservatory that makes prospective students compose their audition pieces; apparently she has to learn to play from the heart to get over the top before her next try. Perhaps on her sojourn to the Emerald Isle she’ll learn that lesson … and find romance at the end of the rainbow?
On the plane, she encounters Hollywood bad boy Beckett (Jedidiah Goodacre) in a belabored meet-cute when she gets one of those last-second free upgrades to first class that are always happening. She apparently doesn’t recognize him although she’s reading a magazine with him on the cover and apparently knows all about his roguish rep. Here she shows what passes for spunk by treating him like dirt and voicing all kinds of negative assumptions about this polite guy she has never met. I know, she seems awesome.
Then, what a crazy world, they end up at the same bed and breakfast that Finley’s host family has recently inherited under the ancient laws of plot convenience. If that’s not the gods telling them they’re meant for each other, then at least it’s formula dictating it.
One gets Beckett’s appeal, as he seems to be not a bad guy, not caught up in fame, and helps out where he can. But apart from her beauty, what is the appeal of Finley? The publisher’s description of the book’s character holds she is “witty, tough, and driven.” Whatever alterations they made for the film, those qualities do not surface. The best example of her drive seems to be haranguing the elderly Cathleen Sweeney (Vanessa Redgrave, of all people), whom she initially calls a “crazy witch,” because Cathleen wants to be left alone. Finley’s toughness never materializes, nor does a whit of wit. Though to be fair, there’s apparently a plot thread in the novel involving a “dangerous vice” she gets into; in the film, her most dangerous vice is biking in the rain.
Rather, this judgmental American dismisses inebriated local fiddler Seamus (Patrick Bergin) as an old bum with nothing to offer. But what if he’s just the fellow to teach her “You’ve got to learn to play the sorrow and the joy. They’re linked. Like day and night”?
The scenery’s gorgeous; Redgrave and Bergin are pros; Tom Everett Scott is fittingly gross as the selfish stage dad; and Goodacre has some charm. But the film forgot to graft a personality onto its protagonist and seems so determined to be PG-clean that sparks between the leads are … hard to “find.”
Rated: PG, for language and thematic elements
Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Playing: Starts May 14 in general release where theaters are open.
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