72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2000
When I first saw the title of this movie, I was thinking that this was going to be a romantic comedy. But, to my surprise, it was so much more.
Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia are good as Alice and Michael Green. I liked the fact that the movie dealt with Alice's alcoholism. She realizes that she has a major problem with alcohol. Eventually, she goes into rehabilitation.
I'm glad that they didn't stop the movie with her coming out of rehab and life will be all wonderful and fuzzy. What happens is that with Alice sober, Michael doesn't have anyone to rescue anymore. It is good to watch how their relationship changes with Alice's new found sobriety. Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia do a great job in showing how alcoholism can effectively mess up a relationship and family.
It's been a while since I have seen this movie, but there are some wonderful supporting performances to mention. Tina Majorino as the oldest daughter, Jess, is astonishing. She shows a lot of emotion for the daughter of an alcoholic. I think that she could have easily been nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
Also, Lauren Tom as Amy, the Green's nanny/housekeeper, is incredible. Her character does not really like Michael Green very much. The scene where Michael begs her to come back and help the family is great. Amy definitely does not make it easy for him.
This movie is definitely not light-hearted fair. In fact, I would really not recommend this for children. But, for adults, I recommend this movie because it tackles alcoholism head on, especially with some not so pleasant views of Alice's alcoholism.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2001
Coming from an alcoholic family I was able to relate to the children in the movie. I think Meg Ryan played the part perfectly and Andy Garcia did a wonderful job as well. It was a different look at a serious disease, the fact that the mother was an alcoholic.
Meg Ryan (Alice Green) plays a wife and mother of two, who has an out of control drinking problem, that takes her almost dying in the shower to make her realize that she has a problem. Andy Garcia (Michael Green) plays her husband who knows that she has a problem, but just is not ready to face the fact that she needs help or she is going to hurt herself or one of the children.
When Alice finally does get the help she needs, Michael doesn't cope well with the fact that she now has other people to turn to when things get rough. Michael does try to go to a support meeting for family memebers, but just sees it as a bunch of people sitting around feeling sorry for each other. He thinks that things will just 'go back to normal' now that she has gotten help and just isn't that simple.
Although the effects that her drinking had on the kids was not addressed, I felt that it touched most of the bases that a family goes through after recovery.
You will need a box of tissues by your side for this tear jerker.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2001
This movie may not be in the 'Days of Wine and Roses' league, in which the great, departed Jack Lemmon deservedly won a Best Actor Oscar. It is, however, a very significant film for me personally. Dealing very sensitively with alcoholism, the performances given by its two main stars, Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia, are, in my view, underestimated. I have watched this movie several times. I am a huge Meg Ryan fan, and, whilst this is not my personal favourite of hers, I feel that it proves that she is too good an actress to be typecast in romantic comedies. She looks the part as the alcoholic, and I intend to be merely complimentary in this assessment; Andy Garcia, equally, is fine as the 'al-anon' husband, with whom so many spouses can associate. I suppose I am somewhat biased in my opinion, as, not only am I a massive Meg addict, I have also (like Meg's character) pulled through alcohol addiction. For me, the scene towards the end of the video, where she, at the alcohol treatment centre, makes a speech, to declare that she has been sober for 184 days, is very poignant. I saw this movie when I was at my lowest ebb, traumatised by alcohol addiction. This scene was to save me, as I thought, if Meg can do it, so can I! Therefore, I white-knuckled it through 184 days, just like Meg, and I am now nearly at my fourth 184 days, after nearly two years of sobriety. I'll never know whether this film would have had such a profound effect on me if someone else had played that part. But, in my view, no-one else would have been able to play that part to such good effect. The carefree girl from 'When Harry Met Sally', reduced to alcoholism. That's why it was effective, and, for me, a life saver. So a big thank you to Meg Ryan, and not to forget Andy Garcia. Seeing an alcoholic deteriorate through the eyes of a loved one is always inspiring to those who wish to combat the illness. Not a great movie, as I said earlier, but a very underrated one. It saved this reviewer's life.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2004
I believe that addiction can only be overcome by love. The demons of addiction thrive and perpetuate in a black vacuum of mental and emotional despair; only the steadfast love and support of others can exorcise them.
And indeed it is love that ultimately breaks through the shackles of alcoholism in director Luis Mandoki's gripping film, WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN. Michael and Alice Green (Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan) are a young couple deeply in love--so much so that Michael tends to downplay his wife's growing dependence on alcohol. Only when Alice's addiction plunges her down a desperate, dysfunctional vortex--from rummaging through trash looking for vodka bottles to passing out in the shower--does Michael come to the jarring conclusion that he is on the verge of losing his wife to an insidious disease. Alice is placed in rehab, and Michael's devotion is put to the test: from his discomfort with support groups to Alice's subsequent aloof and detached demeanor. Life after addiction will not be easy, for Alice, Michael, or their two daughters.
But again, love never is easy.
Garcia and Ryan give compelling, realistic performances. I also was moved by the performance of young Tina Majorino, who plays Garcia's stepdaughter Jessica. Over the course of the movie, father and stepdaughter form an emotional bond as they attempt to keep their fragile family together, and the strain on young Jessica shows.
I was shocked to learn comedic satirist Al Franken cowrote the screenply; what a departure from his usual material, but Franken obviously knows his subject matter here. WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN is anything but a "feel good" film, but there is little good to be gleaned from a story about addiction. But this movie succeeds through its powerful depiction of devotion and love--a power that will keep the viewer riveted and engrossed from beginning to end.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2004
The movie sucks you in and doesnt let go til the end!! It engrosses you in REAL LIFE, it tells a story that you can feel so close to home it brings tears to your eyes more than once. The first time I saw this movie was at a group meeting for alcoholics and the response was breathtaking it touches your soul and makes you feel the love and the pain and every other emotion possible. The title I must admit doesnt draw you to the movie because you figure *Oh just another romance with no point or purpose* but in reality there are both. This movie is one of my all time favorites and I would recommend it to anyone. Its not just a chick flick for all you guys out there:p Never Judge a book by its cover:)
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2002
Get out the kleenex!
Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan gave wonderful performances as Alice and Michael Green. I thought this movie showed a very realistic look at alcoholism and the effects on a family. Andy, as Michael, the ever caring, loving, devoted husband looking after his girls, and not seeing a problem exists. Meg, as Alice, insecure and able to hide her drinking from everyone but her children, Jess and Casey. When Alice is forced to face her demons, everyone has to come to grips with their own insecurities and the truth.
"When a Man Loves a Woman", it's amazing what the outcome can be!
26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
I thought this was going to be a romantic comedy, but was disappointed to find this a dark and depressing drama. It is a story about how being an alcoholic can affect a family and the journey they have to take to stay together. Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia play a married couple, and Meg is the one with the alcohol addiction. The saying about hitting rock bottom would definitely apply to this film. The audience sees Meg slowly spiral completely out of control, and how low she has to go until she finally is ready to reach out for help. Her family has to come to terms with the fact that she will not be the same person she was as a drunk. When Meg emerges from rehab, everyone is on edge with her - not only her family, but friends and acquaintances too. Everyone has adjustments to make.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2005
I am a recovering alcoholic. My husband & I first saw this movie June 12/05 at a detox center in Alaska where our vacation was cut very short due to my nervous system shutting down, due to several years of alcohol abuse. This movie was used in one of our classes in rehabilitation. We were facinated. It told our story. The movie is for the struggling alcoholic & for the loved ones involved. Everyone one is affected by this most crippling disease. This movie is a must "tool" for anyone especially new to sobriety. I even still watch it when I feel a need to. It is very real & most excellent.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 1999
this movie hit me hard. if you know anyone that is an alcoholic, it will probably touch the same spot inside you that it touched in me. meg ryan's character was completely believable & andy garcia (one of my favorites) never failed to amaze me as her loyal husband that stays with her, even when she has hit rock bottom. i definitely recommend this movie, it has a great ending. i cried a river.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This subdued but tender and gut-wrenching look at two people who desperately love each other but find their marriage unravelling because of the bottle has two genuinely moving performances from Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan. At first quietly touching, and as it progresses, ultimately heartbreaking, it is like watching a terrible car crash in slow motion. You can't take your eyes away from the screen because you must know the fate of the family inside.
Written by Ronald Bass and Al Franken, the beautiful photography of Lajos Koltai is in contrast to the sad music score of Zbigniew Preisner, highlighting the difference between appearances and the real picture just beneath the surface. Director Luis Mandoki begins the film in romantic fashion but soon peels back the layers to expose a marriage in deep trouble.
Andy Garcia is amazingly good in an understated performance as a husband very much in love with a wife who has become a liitle too drunk a little too often. A pilot for a major airline, he has all the trappings of happiness. Two adorable little girls and a nice home, however, can offer no magic answers when he sees the woman he loves sliding and is at a loss what to do to stop it. Like any husband, Michael Green wants to fix things but can't admit he doesn't know how.
Meg Ryan is flawlessly genuine as his wife, Alice Green. A trip to Mexico to ease the supposed pressure prompting her to drink too much only puts a spotlight on how far she has fallen when a tragedy nearly occurs. But it is a moment alone with her oldest daughter which will finally force her into a treatment center. Rather than cliches, this film shows there are no easy answers. Michael is disquieted then shocked at just how much the children saw and knew about their mother's problem. Things of which he himself was unaware.
The underlying problems still remain when she returns and tries to readjust and you can truly feel the frustration of the coulple. Finally separating, Garcia is truly magnificent in scenes with the two young girls from Ryan's previous marriage he considers his own. Meg's finest moment in the film comes near the end and should have put her into Oscar contention. Tina Majorino as their older daughter and Lauren Tom as their babysitter deserve mention as well. Quietly played performances with the thoughtful intelligence you see more often in foreign films seemed to work against the picture's stars in this regard.
This film is ultimately about love and is quite romantic. It is a mature romance, however, devoid of pretense and not seen through rose colored glasses. A beautifully conceived drama which leaves a lasting impression on the heart and a film everyone should see.