No Looking Back

1998

Drama / Romance

8
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 36% · 22 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 64% · 1K ratings
IMDb Rating 5.9/10 10 2193 2.2K

Director

Top cast

Lauren Holly as Claudia
Connie Britton as Kelly
Blythe Danner as Claudia's Mom
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
884.08 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
Seeds 5
1.6 GB
1920*1080
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
Seeds 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ODDBear 6 / 10

Too subdued to really work

It's always refreshing to see movies that deal with ordinary people and their lives. Burns has made it his "thing" to create normal, fragile characters who live very ordinary lives and, in this film at least, are sad and disappointed over how mundane and uneventful their existence is. Burns taps into this genre quite well but here, unlike his excellent debut The Brothers McMullen, his characters aren't as interesting or well defined.

Lauren Holly plays a waitress who seems to be bored out of her mind, living with blue collar mechanic Bon Jovi. Her old sweetheart (who completely broke her heart) Burns returns and promises her a better life if she will pack up and go with him.

Holly gives an excellent performance in the lead role. She's the best written character as well, and you feel for her and root for her. Other characters aren't as well defined and are fairly one-dimensional and uninteresting, especially Burn's character. The film moves along very slowly and, aside from one scene involving Bon Jovi, avoids any real emotional outbursts. It's very subdued and could have used some form of life injected to it.

Cast is mostly excellent. Holly is terrific, Burns good as usual but most unexpected; Bon Jovi is actually quite effective as Holly's unfortunate boyfriend.

Praise goes also to the excellent music score. There's not one but three Springsteen songs and in my books that indicates some good musical taste.

Reviewed by flimbuff 7 / 10

TYPICAL EDWARD BURNS FARE

which means to me that it was a well thought out realistically acted damn good story and well worth watching.

You've read the plot outline so I won't rehash that. Burns is quite good as always and the rest of the cast is too. Just a good story about a young woman with dreams she never tried to realize coming to a point in her life when she has to decide whether to try to follow those dreams or just go on with her comfortable life in the small town of her birth. Burns arrives as her former boyfriend, a dreamer who did leave to chase his dreams and found he couldn't catch them. Our heroine sees what could have been, what would be and chooses what could be. Nice ending.

Reviewed by secondtake 7 / 10

Works exactly because it's subdued...a quiet, gritty slice of life surprise

No Looking Back (1998)

A grossly underrated film--but also not an "enjoyable" movie in the normal sense. It is such a realistic slice of life about a group of lower-middle class Long Island shore town dwellers, it sometimes fails to rise above its own material into a meaningful narrative. And that is what most movies find a way to do.

But you might reassess that intention and bask in a situation so simply wrought--the houses, the beach, the old cars, and most of all the array of people who fix cars and wait tables and hang out in ordinary working class bars. It all feels good even though it's not, overall, a feel-good movie. And the acting is generally spot on, even the doubtful inclusion of Jon Bon Jovi as one of the two main guys.

At the center of it all is the young woman, Claudia, played by Lauren Holly, who is trying to find a way to "not look back" and yet finds herself trapped by the town and her devotion to her friends there. (This is a slight flaw all along--this seemingly bright and striving young woman is still working at a diner when she could easily move on, or go to college, or get another kind of job.) But still, Claudia is nearly engaged to the nice guy Michael (Bon Jovi) when her ex-boyfriend Charlie from three years earlier returns to town. Charlie is played by writer/director Edward Burns and he might not be everyone's taste as a leading type, but he works in this role for me. He's charming and unreliable even in his actions, which are too coy and sweet and lovable for his sudden appearance in town.

So the conflict is there, and maybe it's not enough for a feature film. What fills in the gaps are small things, like a past abortion and its consequences, or a mother (played with utter brilliance by Blythe Danner) struggling with her own man issues. There are bar friends and a sister and a mechanic or two on the side, and it mixes and matches and floats and often avoids high drama or deeper plot development. Even the characters are left someone simple, partly because there are so many of them, but they become increasingly convincing.

What then makes the movie work? All of this, as it is, including its restraint and lack of the sensational. And most of all it's Holly's performance that builds and holds together through it all. I was surprised by the depth of what she pulled off and yet I'd never heard of her. It turns out she's been very active but in mostly smaller roles, both in movies and television. This is one movie never mentioned in highlights of her career, and I think it's a shame. Burns clearly pulled together people of talent for this small, focused movie, and as an independent movie with an independent feel it rises above its smallness. I have a feeling it will survive over the years and continue to be interesting for its honesty.

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