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Message in a Bottle (1999)



Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 61,956

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, Message In A Bottle stars Robin Wright Penn as Theresa Osborne, a writer for the Chicago Tribune. While her son visits her cheating ex-husband, Theresa goes on a vacation by herself. One day, while running on the beach, she finds a bottle washed up on the shore. She opens it and inside finds a love letter unlike any she's ever read. Captivated by the author's words of love, she returns to her job at the Tribune where she convinces her boss to run an article


Drama, Romance

Gerald Di Pego

Aug 3, 1999

Warner Bros. Pictures

Watch It Now



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All Critics (67) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (26) | DVD (9)

Costner has a free pass to be as lazy as he can possibly be, and the result is one of the most smugly alienating romantic lead performances that I can quickly call to mind.

April 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

If it had just quit while it was ahead....

April 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Comment (1)
Movie Metropolis

Leaves one feeling empty.

December 31, 2005 Full Review Source:

If only Costner could be cast out to sea like a bottle.

August 8, 2002 | Comment (1)

Paul Newman as a cantankerous old man steals this movie with his character's endearing forthrightness.

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Tolerate the silly and swoony story and allow yourself to drift away in the gorgeous Caleb Deschanel photography.

April 28, 2001 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

Laying it on a bit thick, am I? Don't worry, so does this film.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Have romantic dramas sunk so low that somebody would actually buy this bilge of goods?

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about Message in a Bottle is that it really could have turned out to be something.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

It should have read, 'Memo to screenwriters: Use you brain!'

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Next to this, the films of 'The Horse Whisperer' and 'The English Patient' could almost be mistaken for entries in the 'Die Hard' series.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Just a Degree or Two Shy of True North

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Hollywood Report Card
Hollywood Report Card

Message in a Bottle bids Costner a return to his more romantic roots, but since he's in mourning throughout most of the picture, he slips into portraying The Carpenter.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Message in a Bottle

Cast: Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn, Paul Newman, Robbie Coltrane, John Savage, Illeana Douglas

Director: Luis Mandoki

Summary: Newspaper researcher Theresa Osborne (Robin Wright Penn) finds a letter in a bottle penned by grieving shipbuilder Garret Blake (Kevin Costner), who writes to ease the pain of his wife's death. But when Osborne tracks Blake down, their growing attraction is endangered by their pasts. Based on Nicholas Sparks's best-selling novel, director Luis Mandoki's romantic drama explores the possibility of love amid heartache.

My Thoughts: "Another film based on a Nicholas Sparks book. I'm not familiar with his books. Never read one, but I have seen quite a few of the films based on his novels. I don't know if this is a spoiler or not so you may want to skip this sentence or a few more of them; but is every relationship in his books doomed? Every film I have seen of his, the relationships are going great and then BAM! The love interest is dead. Quite depressing way to write. Build up such a great love story to just end it in despair. The man is obsess with killing off all the 'better halves' of these poor people. Besides that, I thought the film was a good little sappy romance flick. I could have done without all the horrible love songs. The acting was good, and I loved Paul Newman as the no BS father. Kevin Costner redeemed himself in my eyes from the horrible film I recently saw him in. He does much better in these types of roles. Those of you who enjoyed the book, or who like romance films will enjoy this one as well."
May 31, 2011

Super Reviewer

This movie is too much of a chick flick - and usually I don't mind them.
August 24, 2008

Super Reviewer

It was okay, failrly decent romantic movie. If, as they say, you're in a certain mood, Message in a Bottle can be just the ticket. Based on Nicholas Sparks's bestselling novel, this handsome but overly calculated romance tale stars Robin Wright Penn as Theresa, a Chicago Tribune researcher who finds a note encased in a green bottle that has floated onto a Cape Cod shore. The message within is a heartfelt, yearning declaration of love to a woman named Catherine, but the author is unknown until Theresa tracks him down in North Carolina. He's Garret Blake, a taciturn builder of sailboats and a grieving widower whose late wife, poetically speaking, was the intended recipient of the seafaring note Theresa found. Theresa, a divorcée with a son, decides to meet Garret, only to find him as bottled-up as his message. Nevertheless, a romance blooms on the strength of quality time in a sailboat and lots of cuddling, though the script tosses in bits of conflict to keep their relationship spicy.
November 30, 2007
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

    1. Theresa Osborne: If some lives form a perfect circle, other take shape in ways we cannot predict or always understand. Loss has been part of my journey. But it has also shown me what is precious. So has love for which I can only be grateful.
    – Submitted by Laura E (22 months ago)
    1. Garret Blake: Theresa! I don't want to lose you.
    2. Theresa Osborne: Then don't.
    – Submitted by Sunny C (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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