Magazine article The Spectator

Beyond Belief

Magazine article The Spectator

Beyond Belief

Article excerpt

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In this film Sandra Bullock plays Linda Hanson, wife of dishy Jim Hansom (Julian McMahon), mother to two adorable little girls, Megan and Bridgette, and one of those blissfully contented stayat-home moms who -- even though this is very much horses for courses -- still make you want to puke a little. It's a happy, Hanson family, all right. 'Why don't you take the girls out and have some fun?' Linda suggests to Jim one Sunday morning. 'Sure, that's a great idea, ' he replies, as if she's just come up with the internal-combustion engine. He's a great catch, dishy Jim. Most dads would say: 'What? All on my own?' Or even: 'Children? Since when?' And maybe: 'That's the dumbest idea I've ever heard!' But, whoa, what's this? Do I sense something bad is about to happen? Something really bad that'll give this family a good old kicking and hang their complacency out to dry with the sheets. (I'll say one thing for Linda: she sure gets her whites white. ) Yes, I do believe I sense this. But why?

Premonition? I think it must be. It must be some kind of bug doing the rounds. I hope old people are getting the jab. But I've got it and I've got it bad. I can see, as clear as day, that she's not going to be allowed to carry on with all her contented stay-athome, lovey-dovey Jim stuff -- 'I love you!'; 'I love you too!' -- because: 1) it would be a lousy movie and 2) it would be a lousy movie and 3) it's a lousy movie anyway, but they don't know that yet.

Sometimes, premonition is not all it's cracked up to be.

So, one afternoon, Linda opens the door and it's the local sheriff who says, sorry, but Jim's died in a traffic accident. Well, Linda can't bake her way out of this one and she's devastated, but the next day, when she wakes up, who's at the breakfast table, drinking coffee? Jim! But the day after that? Dead again. And so it goes on:

alive; dead; alive; dead; dead; alive.

Eventually, she realises she's somehow come unstuck in time: that the next morning isn't the next morning, it's several days earlier, and yesterday is tomorrow and on and on -- and you know what? This has to be the funniest film of the year. Laugh, I thought I'd die, if not tomorrow then at least last Thursday. …

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