The pleasure of having a random conversation with a stranger in an incident of Serendipity; that’s what it first felt like when Sarah Thomas (Kate Beckinsale) and Jonathan Trager (John Cusack) fought over the last pair of gloves they were intending to buy from a New York Bloomingdales store on a cozy Christmas Eve. As a strong believer in destiny, Sara refuses to keep contact with this admirable stranger and leaves it up to fate to join them back together with the guidance of “signs.” As they fall back into the routine of their daily lives, countries apart, the director (Peter Chelson) takes us with them on a philosophic journey of “fate/cause and effect” vs. “freedom of choice.”
The film touches the audience on a very personal level, relating to all those moments of their lives in which they experience an inner quarrel between logic and belief in the magical aspect of our world. Should Sara and Jonathan just leave it there; preserve those delightful hours in an eternal gold frame of a memory? Or run around huge cities with a desperate will to read more into every sign that comes along the way, directing them to where they want to be? As their typical romantic plans with their other lovers back at home start falling apart, they decide to give fate a chance to play its cards.
Looking at the actors from above, glowing with anticipation, you feel the urgent call to cry out “You’re almost there!” “Look behind you!” or “Flip the 5 dollar bill!” But is there such a thing as “signs of destiny”? Serendipity reveals to us the warmth and thrill of being “content to be thought of as foolish and stupid” by giving small signs more weight than that of mere meaningless coincidences. As much as many of us resent the idea of not possessing ultimate control over the itinerary of events, allowing life to drift your boat as it wills might lay you up in a dock of a magnificent island.