Autumn in New York (2000) - Synopsis
The passion and poignancy of classical romance take on a contemporary edge in Autumn in New York, the story of a once-in-a-lifetime love affair that unfolds in a single brief season. The pairing of an aging man who doesn't believe in forever with a younger woman who has only a moment to give produces a resonant story about the risks that must be taken to truly live and love.
Autumn in New York follows the sexual exploits of Will Keane (RICHARD GERE) - New York restaurateur, infamous verging-on-50 playboy, master of the no-commitment seduction - until he runs into an unexpected dead end when he meets Charlotte Fielding (WINONA RYDER). Charlotte is half Will's age and twice his match, a 21-year-old free spirit yearning to get out and taste the excitement of adult life.
Will indulges his interest in Charlotte, expecting yet another quick and easy romance. But nothing about Will and Charlotte's encounters are quick or easy; instead they are rife with intergenerational clashes, differing philosophies and an inexplicably urgent sense of sensuality and connection. Then, just as Will attempts to escape from the relationship with his usual line about "not promising forever," Charlotte provides a surprise response: she has her own reasons to believe things absolutely can't last.
Freed for a moment from the confines of time, Will and Charlotte pursue an affair unlike any other. It is a season-long encounter that will shatter Will's preconceptions about women, sex and responsibility as real love - exhilarating, heartbreaking, enduring love - changes everything.
Love, in all its most delicious and devastating, frightening and challenging qualities, is a theme that runs throughout Autumn in New York, becoming the hidden fuel that lights up the rushing city. Chinese-born director Joan Chen brings a lush, unique perspective to Manhattan, rediscovering the city as the center of luminous romance after decades of gritty realism in cinema.
Chen, who made her directorial debut with the award-winning Chinese film xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (1998) - a wondrously unsentimental story of a girl's heart-wrenching betrayal - felt drawn to Allison Burnett's gripping screenplay, which seemed to bring the exquisite, aching quality of Hollywood's classic 1940s romantic dramas to the modern era. Whereas xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (1998) had the power of a mythic fable, Chen saw Autumn in New York as having the bittersweet enchantment of an old-fashioned love story set in today's hyper-fast world of celebrity chefs, commitment-phobic bachelors, frequent May-December romances and independent young women. The screenplay seemed to emphasize the primacy - no matter what age, lifestyle or beliefs - of being loved.
Lakeshore Entertainment presents in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Autumn in New York, directed by Joan Chen and produced by Amy Robinson, Gary Lucchesi and Tom Rosenberg. Executive producers are Ted Tannebaum and Ron Bozman. The film stars Richard Gere and two-time Academy Award® nominee Winona Ryder. The cast also includes Emmy Award winner Elaine Stritch, Tony Award winner Anthony LaPaglia, Emmy nominee Sherry Stringfield, Tony Award nominee Mary Beth Hurt, Jill Hennessy and Vera Farmiga.