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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

What Happens Later - Misses the Connection

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars)

Released 11-03-2023

Watched 11-05-2023

Reviewed 11-05-2023

Viewed in Theater - Using Cinemark Movie Club



"If we could see our memories in advance, would we do anything different?"


In her latest directorial venture, "What Happens Later," Meg Ryan attempts to capture the magic of past romance in the confines of a snowed-in airport, but the result is as cold and isolating as the setting itself. The film reunites Ryan with David Duchovny, as ex-lovers Willa and Bill, whose chance encounter could have been a recipe for introspective exploration. However, the film's singular setting and the limited cast of two characters, while ambitious, ultimately stagnate the narrative. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the airport echoes the film's inability to escape its own limitations, leaving the viewer yearning for a change of scenery both literally and metaphorically.


The dialogue, aiming for Aaron Sorkin-esque banter, falls short of its goal, often feeling more like a relentless tennis match of words than a dance of wit and charm. The screenplay's efforts to unpack the complexities of Willa and Bill's shared past feel like an overextended therapy session, with neither character achieving the depth required to forge a real connection with the audience. The film's pace drags, making the already prolonged runtime feel like a layover with no end.


Despite these shortcomings, Meg Ryan remains the quintessential charm of the screen. Her portrayal of Willa is imbued with a warmth and relatability that fans have come to adore. Ryan’s on-screen presence is a gentle reminder of the rom-coms of yesteryear, offering a touch of nostalgia for an audience of a certain age. The thematic exploration of lost love and the what-ifs of life will resonate with viewers over fifty, stirring a bittersweet reflection on their own life choices.


Ultimately, "What Happens Later" feels like a missed flight—a film with the potential to soar yet never quite leaves the ground. It's a cinematic encounter that could have been enchanting but ends up as a forgettable layover in the journey of film.



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