Serendipity (film)

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Serendipity poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Chelsom
Written byMarc Klein
Produced byPeter Abrams
Simon Fields
Robert L. Levy
CinematographyJohn De Borman
Edited byChristopher Greenbury
Music byAlan Silvestri
Tapestry Films
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release dates
  • September 13, 2001 (2001-09-13) (TIFF)
  • October 5, 2001 (2001-10-05) (United States)
Running time
91 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$28 million[2]
Box office$77.5 million[3]

Serendipity is a 2001 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Chelsom, written by Marc Klein, and starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. The film grossed $77.5 million on a $28 million budget.


While Christmas shopping at Bloomingdale's in New York City, Jonathan Trager meets Sara Thomas when both try to buy the same pair of black cashmere gloves. Despite both being in relationships, a mutual attraction leads them to have dessert at Serendipity 3 where Sara explains that she lets fate's "little signals" determine many of her life decisions. After separating, they meet again when each returns to the restaurant to retrieve something they forgot. After ice skating, Jonathan convinces Sara to give him her number, but when the wind blows it out of his grasp, Sara thinks it is fate telling them to back off. After Jonathan disagrees, Sara decides to let fate reunite them: she has Jonathan write his number on a five dollar bill then uses it to buy breath mints and promises to sell her copy of Love in the Time of Cholera in which she will write her number. As one last experiment, Sara and Jonathan board separate elevators in the Waldorf Astoria and agree that if they arrive on the same floor, they are meant to be together. They each pick the same floor, but Jonathan is delayed finding Sara, leading her to believe that the experiment failed. Disappointed, they separate.

Years later, Jonathan is engaged to Halley and Sara, now living in San Francisco, to internationally-renowned musician Lars. When Jonathan finds one of the cashmere gloves, he embarks on a search of the city with his best friend, Dean, to find her. Meanwhile, Sara, stressed by the wedding planning and Lars’ focus on an upcoming world tour, travels to New York with her best friend Eve to find Jonathan. After nearly crossing paths with Jonathan throughout the day, Eve and Sara have dessert at Serendipity where Eve convinces Sara to give up her search. As Eve leaves, she picks up the 5 dollar bill with Jonathan's number on it that was left as their change. They catch the same cab that Jonathan and Dean exited while searching for Sara. After finding that a bridal shop next to Serendipity now occupies the address of a roommate finder service Sara once used, Jonathan sees it as a sign that he should marry Halley.

At the Waldorf Astoria, Eve and Sara encounter Halley headed to the wedding rehearsal. Halley invites Eve to join her since they were friends in college, but Sara declines. Outside their room, she finds an apologetic Lars.

At the rehearsal, Jonathan’s distracted demeanor frustrates Halley. She tearfully pleads with him to focus on the wedding and he reassures her that his reservations have let go of him. Halley then gives him Sara's old book containing her phone number as a wedding gift. Jonathan and Dean get her address and fly to San Francisco. Once there, they see Sara's sister and her boyfriend having sex and assume it is Sara in a happy relationship. Dean helps Jonathan realize that he shouldn’t marry Halley while Sara decides to end her engagement to Lars.

The next day, Sara finds the 5 dollar bill with Jonathan's number on it, having gotten hers and Eve's wallets mixed up. After getting his address and being told by the building superintendent of his wedding at the Waldorf, Sara hurries there and is relieved to find the ceremony cancelled.

Dean reassures Jonathan that he did the right thing and vows to be more spontaneous in his own marriage, which has been on the rocks. Jonathan wanders to the same ice skating rink where he spent part of his evening with Sara and finds a leather jacket on a bench. As it begins to snow, he lays on his back in the middle of the rink with the jacket as a pillow and one of the pair of cashmere gloves on his chest. When the matching glove lands next to it, he sits up and finds Sara watching him, having come to claim her jacket. They introduce themselves and finally share a kiss.

Later they celebrate their anniversary in front of the display of cashmere gloves where they met.



Serendipity was shot in New Jersey, New York City, Ontario, and San Francisco, California in the summer of 2000. Following the 9/11 attacks, images of the World Trade Center towers were digitally removed from all skyline shots of New York City.[4] Jennifer Aniston was offered the role of Sara Thomas but turned it down to avoid being type-cast in romantic comedies.[4] Carla Gugino and Claire Forlani auditioned for role of Sara Thomas.[4]


Serendipity premiered at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival.[5] The film opened at #2 at the U.S. box office earning $13,309,241 in its opening weekend, behind Training Day. With an estimated budget of $28 million, this was the first of Chelsom's films to turn a profit.[2] After some of the biggest commercial failures of all time (Town & Country),[6] Serendipity marked the first of several box-office successes for Chelsom, peaking in 2009 with Hannah Montana: The Movie. The film grossed $50,294,317 in the domestic box office and $27,221,987 internationally for a worldwide total of $77,516,304.[3]


Based on 141 reviews, the film holds a 59% approval rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 5.8/10. The site's consensus states: "Light and charming, Serendipity could benefit from less contrivances."[7] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100 from 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[8] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[9]

Roger Ebert gave the film 1½ out of 4 stars.[10] The New York Times gave it a mixed review and compared it to cinematic candyfloss.[11]


Serendipity (Music From The Miramax Motion Picture)
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedOctober 5, 2001
LabelSony Music Entertainment Inc.
Columbia Records
Miramax Records

The soundtrack contains popular music by various artists, with one track from the musical score, composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri.

Not included within the release of the soundtrack

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SERENDIPITY (PG)". Buena Vista International. British Board of Film Classification. October 31, 2001. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Serendipity (2001) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved September 11, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Serendipity (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Guerrasio, Jason (2021). "'Serendipity' at 20: Director reveals why Jennifer Aniston turned down the lead role and his decades-long regret that Harvey Weinstein forced him to digitally erase the Twin Towers from the movie". Insider.
  5. ^ "Serendipity (2001)". AllMovie. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "All-Time Best & Worst at the Box-Office". Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  7. ^ "Serendipity". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 6, 2021. Edit this at Wikidata
  8. ^ "Serendipity Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  9. ^ "CinemaScore".
  10. ^ Roger Ebert (October 5, 2001). "Serendipity Movie Review & Film Summary". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  11. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (October 5, 2001). "FILM REVIEW; A Love Made in Heaven (Actually, a Sweet Shop)". The New York Times.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]