Release date20 August 2002 WriterJocelyn Moorhouse, P.J. Hogan ScreenplayP. J. Hogan, Jocelyn Moorhouse CastKathy Bates (Grace Beasley), Rupert Everett, Meredith Eaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Lynn Redgrave, Stephanie Beacham Similar moviesRupert Everett and Lynn Redgrave appear in Unconditional Love and The Next Best Thing
TaglineIf love takes no prisoners, somebody forgot to tell them.
Unconditional Love is the title of a (2003) mid-life re-invention comedy co-written and directed by PJ Hogan ("My Best Friend's Wedding"), starring Kathy Bates, Rupert Everett, Dan Aykroyd, and Meredith Eaton. The film follows Grace Beasley, an archetypically timid and repressed homemaker who, in the wake of a sudden, unexpected marital separation and her favorite pop star's untimely death, takes a plane to England to attend the entertainer's funeral.
Grace Beasley has been content with life as a housewife. One morning, Grace wins tickets to a concert by her favorite singer. Grace is ecstatic, but soon learns her husband is leaving her, and also that her son is leaving his wife. Grace arrives at the concert, only to learn it has been cancelled due to the murder of the singer. Grace decides to travel to England for the singer's funeral. She soon meets the closeted singer's former lover and they plot to secretly change his burial clothing to his beloved pink bathrobe. Grace and Dirk then leave for Chicago and track down and kill the Cross Bow Killer, who has been murdering singers. The adventure changes Grace, and she faces the problems of her marriage with a new outlook on the meaning of love.
Kathy Bates... Grace Beasley
Rupert Everett... Dirk Simpson
Meredith Eaton... Maudey
Lynn Redgrave... Nola Fox
Stephanie Beacham... Harriet Fox-Smith
Richard Briers... Barry Moore
Dan Aykroyd... Max Beasley
Jonathan Pryce... Victor Fox
Peter Sarsgaard... Window Washer
Barry Manilow... Himself
Julie Andrews... Herself
The film was shot in late 1999 and early 2000 in Chicago and England, but New Line Cinema continually postponed the American release, leaving the film on the shelf until finally premiering it on the Starz network in August 2003 and then sending it direct-to-DVD that October. The film has generally received mixed reviews from film critics.
Christopher Mull wrote, "It's a sloppy mishmash of stories...none of which stand on their own and which crash disastrously when combined. Bates comes off as dippy and distant. Everett comes of [sic] as mean and crusty. Pryce is just inexplicable with a gray pompadour and blue sequins. And Manilow rocks. Er..."
Jason Bovberg had slightly kinder things to say about the film. "As a dark comedy, Unconditional Love can be occasionally effective. There are a few moments in this film that had me laughing quite hysterically. Merely the sight of Jonathan Pryce shuffle-dancing through clouds over the opening credits loads the film with promise. And Meredith Eaton as Maudey steals every scene she's in. But in the end, you can't escape the fact that Bates has difficulty carrying this movie and in fact, doesn't seem to really understand the type of film she's in."
The film is available on DVD and includes the film's trailer, and a deleted scene.