Eight Days of Christmas: Favorite things about… Serendipity (2001)

(Image via ratingmovies.com)
(Image via ratingmovies.com)

The favorite film:
Serendipity, a 2001 romantic comedy directed by Peter Chelsom for Miramax

The synopsis:
Christmas shopping season is in full swing in New York City when Jonathan Trager heads to Bloomingdale’s to buy a pair of black gloves for his girlfriend. The store has only one pair left, and Jonathan gives the gloves up so they can be bought by Sara Thomas, who grabbed the same pair at the same time as him. The two are attracted to each other but are both in relationships with other people… so after spending the night ice skating and eating dessert together, they decide to leave it up to fate. He writes his number on a $5 bill, she writes hers in a used book, and they go their separate ways. Five years later, on the eve of Jonathan’s wedding, they may finally cross paths again.

The cast:

  • John Cusack as Jonathan Trager
  • Kate Beckinsale as Sara Thomas
  • Jeremy Piven as Dean
  • Molly Shannon as Eve
  • Bridget Moynahan as Halley
  • John Corbett as Lars
  • Eugene Levy as the Bloomingdale’s salesman
(Image via grenglish.co.uk)
(Image via grenglish.co.uk)

Fun facts:

  • This is the second of two movies in which John Cusack points out the Cassiopeia constellation to his love interest. The first was The Sure Thing.
  • Shares a director with Hannah Montana: The Movie, of all things. This was the first of his films to turn a profit.
  • Since most of their scenes occur apart, Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack actually only worked together for a few days, despite the fact that their romance is so central to the film.
  • The World Trade Center’s towers had to be digitally removed from the shots of the New York City skyline used in the film, because it was released just about a month after the September 11 tragedy.
  • IMDb reports that during filming on location in New York, notes were posted that read: “Yes, we are filming a movie. It is called ‘Serendipity.’ It stars John Cusack and some girl from Britain that you wouldn’t now – even if we told you her name. We will be shooting tonight until mid-morning. Please don’t ask the crew any questions. Even if they don’t look like they are working, they are thinking.”
  • Though the gap between Jon and Sara’s meeting and their re-connecting is about five years in the finished film, it was originally intended to be much longer — twelve to fifteen years!
(Image via reellifewisdom.com)
(Image via reellifewisdom.com)

Favorite things:

  • Louis Armstrong’s “Cool Yule” playing over the opening credits!
  • …and now I’m craving frozen hot chocolate, as I always do when I watch this film.
  • Sara: “It’s just a nice sound for what it means: a fortunate accident.”
  • Jonathan: “Proud US citizen, no criminal record.”
  • Jonathan freaking out because Sara has never seen Cool Hand Luke
  • Want to win a lady over? Draw all over her arm. Works every time!
  • Jonathan: “Let fate take its proper course!” — and then Sara’s phone number blows away in the wind of a passing truck
  • The devil-child ruining Jonathan’s chances with Sara by pressing all of the elevator buttons
  • Dean’s speech at Jonathan and Halley’s rehearsal dinner
  • The biker singing “Sara Smile” loudly in the middle of traffic
  • Sara’s boyfriend and his superior instrumental/dancing skills
  • Caroline: “Was that last song really inspired by my sister?”
  • The Bloomingdale’s salesman’s obsession with “the line” and who can and can’t cross it
  • Jonathan: “That’s extortion!”
    Salesman: “That’s good salesmanship, sir.”
  • Lars’ music video, in all of its purple-y, anguished glory
  • Sara tricking Eve into going to New York with her
  • Salesman: “That’s carbon paper for ya. I guess that’s why America rejected it.”
  • Jon and Dean’s confusion over how to pronounce “Mignon”
  • Mr. Mignon: “I remember she sat on me.”
    Jon: “She… she sat on you?”
    Mr. Mignon: “Yes, she sat on me for a while. I found her… inspiring. I guess this is why I started painting her in the first place.”
    Jon: “Oh, you… she sat for you, I’m sorry.”
    Mr. Mignon: “That is what I said.”
  • Eve: “It’s not giving up, it’s growing up!”
  • The roommate finder service being overtaken by a bridal shop
  • Dean: “They should make pills for this.”
  • OOOOH PLOT TWIST, the book signed by Sara is bought for Jon by none other than his fiance, Halley
  • The way John Cusack plays his character’s freak-out after receiving the book
  • Dean latching onto Jon’s leg, trying to stop him from walking up to Sara’s house
  • Sara’s encounter with the man cleaning up from the cancelled wedding
  • Dean: “When God shuts a door, he o-pens a win-dow!”
  • The “obituary” the Dean writes for Jon
  • Dramatic slow-mo shot of the glove falling from the sky onto Jon’s chest
  • Jon and Sara celebrating their anniversary at Bloomingdale’s with Eugene Levy
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7 thoughts on “Eight Days of Christmas: Favorite things about… Serendipity (2001)

      1. yup!!! I watched it on Netflix about a year and a half ago when I had my free trial and ohhhh it’s just so lovely and romantic <3 It's on Lovefilm Instant at the mo so I totally have to see it again!!!

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  1. I watched it for the first time on Christmas Day a few years after it was released, and thought it was great! But I like John Cusack anyway, so he could do a remake of ‘Santa Claus Conquers the Martians’ and I’d still watch it. And I know this may sound weird, but I love the ‘Serendipity’ DVD menu screen and its accompanying music; I play it every Christmas, as if it were a television yule log.

    And yes, that kid in the elevator thoroughly pissed me off.

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