After playing with an Ouija board with her brother, Faith is convinced her destiny is a man named Damon Bradley. This is reiterated later at a carnival where a fortune teller mentions the same name. Years later, Faith is engaged to be married but receives a call from a friend of her fiancé, who is about to board a plane for Italy, but tells her his name is Damon Bradley. Convinced that the phone call is her fate, Faith and her sister-in-law, Kate, board a plane to Venice to track down Damon. When she finds him (or so she thinks), she and “Damon” spend a whirlwind night falling in love. But, of course, it’s not that easy, and Faith ultimately has to decide if she believes in some pre-ordained fate, or her heart.
I really loved the premise of this movie. I’m a sucker for most things that fall underneath the movie umbrella of “fate”. Even if you don’t believe it exists, I still think it’s fun to watch in terms of a movie or television show, especially if it brings something fresh to the table. Only You isn’t exactly an original take on destiny, but its simplicity actually benefits it, I think.
Marisa Tomei is perfectly adorable as Faith, a woman who seems content to be marrying her boyfriend… until she gets a phone call from Damon Bradley, then she runs off to the airport in her wedding dress(!) to find him. Her poor fiancé is barely a blip on Faith’s radar anymore as she tries to track down the man she’s confident is the man she’s supposed to marry. In the hands of another actress, Faith could have easily been an unlikeable lead, but Tomei is just charming enough that I find myself rooting for her instead. I guess it didn’t hurt that her fiancé was a bit of a dull dud.
And Robert Downey Jr.! With those big puppy dog eyes… he’s a good-looking man, but back in 1994? Wowza. He was exactly what you would expect him to be in a movie like this, but that’s not a bad thing at all. His Damon/Peter is adorably lovesick and goes out of his way to try to prove to Faith that destiny shouldn’t be just a faceless name. I thought he and Tomei had great chemistry together and I think you still see sparks of it in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War when they share a few moments on screen together.
Bonnie Hunt is always amazing and there is a small side plot of her character, Kate, dealing with her unhappy marriage to Faith’s brother, Larry. It’s certainly not as in depth as the Faith/Peter (Damon) storyline, but it gives the movie a nice dose of realism. On one hand, Faith is the hopeless romantic who believes in fate. And then on the other, Kate is the woman who has been married for years to the man she believed to be her soulmate, and it’s anything but unicorns and destiny. I won’t spoil the movie for you, but I really enjoyed Kate’s subplot and was happy with how it resolved.
The script is whimsical and light and this honestly felt like an “old school” romantic comedy. It’s completely devoid of the cynical, unlucky in love traits that plague a lot of rom-coms these days and simply pushes together two people who just want to believe that love is written in the stars. Now take that fluff and combine it with the insanely beautiful scenery of Italy and you have a magical romantic comedy that is perfect for a rainy day, or cozy night. Only You obviously requires some suspension of belief, but if you are able to do that, I think you will probably enjoy this one.