Autumn in New York

DEAN: You go look at the astronomy section, we’ll go see Lord of the Rings, and on the way home we’ll rent Autumn in New York and mock it for the rest of the afternoon.

Autumn in New York is a 2000 romantic drama directed by Joan Chen, and starring Richard Gere as a middle-aged womaniser who falls in love with a sweet young woman who is terminally ill, played by Winona Ryder.

The film received negative reviews, being judged as sappy with no chemistry between the two romantic leads, although Chen’s direction did receive some praise. It was nonetheless a success at the box office. The film was released on DVD in January 2001.

Although I think Rory would mock the film roundly, it has enough parallels with her relationship with Jess to also be uncomfortable viewing for her. The main characters share a love of poetry, just as she and Jess share an interest in literature, and there are references to Rory’s favourite poets, Emily Dickinson, Dorothy Parker, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

There is a major plot point in the film where the young woman takes her lover’s watch as a keepsake, telling him she will return it when he no longer notices it is gone. This is quite similar to Jess taking Rory’s bracelet, and returning it – except he will return it when Rory notices it is missing.

Dean has proposed what sounds like an exhaustingly lengthy afternoon: hours looking at books, a three hour movie at the cinema, and then a 90 minute video “for the rest of the afternoon”. Just how long is this afternoon? It’s early spring, it gets dark early!

Dean’s plan apparently comes to nothing when he notices that Rory isn’t wearing her bracelet. Instead of simply telling him the truth, that she didn’t notice it had fallen off, she tells him a silly lie about having a rash on her wrist, possibly caused by her Spanish mid-terms (!), and needing to temporarily remove the bracelet.

Even though this version of events wouldn’t stop Rory watching movies, she instead spends the afternoon searching the entire town for her bracelet. Again, it would have made more sense for her to have been honest, said that she lost the bracelet somewhere (for all she and Dean know, it fell off that very day), and needs to look for it.

It’s never said how she managed to cancel all her plans to spend the day with Dean to look for her bracelet without confessing it was lost, or raising his suspicions.

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