Serendipity

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Serendipity Movie Poster Image
Frothy romcom has some language, sex.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Romantic comedy exploring the theme of fate, of "if it's meant to be, it's meant to be." 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 

Violence
Sex

Lead male character and his best friend look in the window of a house to see two people having passionate sex -- no nudity. While flirting shortly after they first met, lead female character asks lead male character what his favorite sexual position is. 

Language

Infrequent profanity: "bulls--t," "crap," "ass." 

Consumerism

Serendipity the restaurant plays a role.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink champagne at a dinner party -- lead male character's best friend makes a toast while very drunk. Drinking in a bar. Lead female character smokes cigarettes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Serendipity is a 2001 romantic comedy starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale that explores the theme of love and fate. Kate Beckinsale's character smokes cigarettes, and some drinking is shown, including a dinner party scene in which a man gives a toast while drunk on champagne. The two male leads are shown looking into a nearby window and watching two people having passionate sex -- there's no nudity, but it's obvious what's happening. Infrequent profanity (bulls--t," "crap," "ass") is heard, and there's some sex-themed humor. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written bylightandlife November 13, 2009

Charming, Lovely Movie

This is one of my favorite movies to watch over and over again. I love the theme of love and fate. The movie is charming and lovely. The only part which I wo... Continue reading
Adult Written bywonder dove September 15, 2012

An underrated Gem!

Best movie ever! Perfect around the Holidays but great even all-year around. This story is beautifully written. Sarah (Beckinsale) is obsessed with fate, she be... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bydancingwithmyself April 9, 2008

Good for winter

good for the holidays
Teen, 16 years old Written byPo T. January 9, 2017

Beautiful and Cute

A cute ,light hearted movie. I definitely recommend

What's the story?

SERENDIPITY is (1) a "happy accident" and (2) a New York restaurant that serves sweet, frozen goodies. It is #1 that brings our couple together, as both try to buy a pair of black cashmere gloves at Bloomingdale's, and #2 where romantic sparks fly when Sarah (Kate Beckinsale) takes Jonathan (John Cusack) there to thank him for letting her have the gloves. There's a strong romantic connection, but both are involved with other people, so they part, with two romantic note-in-a-bottle opportunities for fate to bring them back together. He writes his name and number on a five-dollar bill, which she puts back into circulation. And she writes her name and number in a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera, which she sells to a used book store. Years later, as both are about to get married, they are still drawn to each other. So we're in Sleepless in Seattle/When Harry Met Sally land, watching them just miss each other a dozen times until the happily-ever-after ending.

Is it any good?

This is romantic confection with all the weight of a soap bubble, but it has all the sheen and charm of one, too. Cusack and Beckinsale are just right, giving a small touch of bittersweet reality to the fairy tale. Sarah's insistence on letting fate determine the outcome could make her seem arbitrary and foolish, but Beckinsale shows us that it's just the result of Sarah's struggle to overcome a deep romanticism. Cusack, always superb in showing us that same struggle, makes Jonathan's quest to find Sarah genuinely touching.

The script wobbles at times. The respective fiancés are neither interesting enough to merit their screen time or awful enough to make us feel comfortable about seeing them get dumped. And the near-misses get a little overdone. Adept performances by sidekicks Molly Shannon and Jeremy Piven and by Eugene Levy as a persnickety Bloomingdale's salesman provide buoyancy. And cinematographer John de Borman captures New York City as a dreamy wonderland, with twinkling lights and floating snowflakes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about romantic comedies. How does this compare to other romantic comedies you've seen? 

  • How was the theme of fate explored in the movie? What were the ways, big and small, in which the idea of "if it's meant to be, it's meant to be" was shown? 

  • Do romantic comedies and love stories create unreal expectations in the minds of those who have watched these their whole lives, or do you think people watch movies like these simply to be entertained? 

Movie details

For kids who love romance and comedy

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate