Warning: Please note that the following review may contain plot spoilers for The Lost City. If you’ve not yet seen the film and don’t want any aspects of the plot to be spoiled for you, stop reading now. Actually, bookmark the page, go watch the movie, and then come back and read my review. Enjoy!
I think I really needed something as purely fun, entertaining, and heartwarming as The Lost City. It was like a bag of Skittles in movie form: full of color, variety, and sweet but with just enough of a bite to keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Movies like this give you a guaranteed HEA (Happily Ever After for the uninitiated among you) so you don’t have to worry about having your heart ripped out of your chest while it’s still beating. To be honest, that’s usually my schtick—sad mumblecore indie movies with little-to-no plot, lots of philosophical rumination on the human condition, and confusing endings that may or may not be happy. Sometimes they don’t even really end at all, they just sort of fizzle out until the credits roll.
The Lost City starts off with Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock), romance author extraordinaire, receiving a call from her publisher (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) about her upcoming book tour for the latest book in her wildly successful series starring Dr. Angela Lovemore and Dash McMahon, Dr. Lovemore’s hunky, dyed-in-the-wool-of-Fabio love interest. As part of the book tour, Loretta has to appear with the cover model who has portrayed Dash on all of Loretta’s book covers in the series, Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum).
Loretta is not up for a book tour and hasn’t wanted anything to do with the limelight since her husband passed away. She’s much happier sinking into a bubble bath and sipping an iced Chardonnay, away from the rest of the world. Her publisher is insistent, however, and her reader-fans themselves are insatiable. During the first Q&A promoting the latest Lovemore adventure, it’s apparent that the fans are much more enamored with the cover model fantasy of Dash than they are with anything Loretta has to say about the book. Even Alan/Dash himself seems to have a hard time separating his actual self from the fictional representation made popular by Loretta’s books. He answers to Dash and poses for pictures with fans as Dash. Loretta sees him as nothing more than another obstacle keeping her from going back into seclusion and sinking into her tub.
When Loretta makes it out of the venue and has a car summoned to take her home, she’s instead picked up by the henchmen of Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), a madcap billionaire who’s discovered that a lot of the lore and events that take place in Loretta’s novels are based on research she conducted with her deceased archaeologist husband. He believes that a priceless treasure, the “Crown of Fire” mentioned in Loretta’s novels, is located in a lost city on an island in the Atlantic. He kindly asks Loretta to help him (by “help” of course he means he needs her to do all of the work) in deciphering the meaning of some words on a piece of old parchment. Fairfax believes that the message on the parchment will lead him to the treasure and bring him fame and accolades to surpass that of his favored brother. A tale as old as time really, with some minor adjustments. When she declines his request, he knocks her out with chloroform and takes her to the island against her will.
Meanwhile, Alan/Dash (hereinafter referred to solely as Alan) witnessed Loretta being kidnapped. It is apparent to the viewer that he has somewhat of a crush on her and so intends to do anything and everything in his power to bring her back. After talking to Loretta’s publisher Beth and her social media manager Allison (Patti Harrison), Alan contacts Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt), a former Navy SEAL, for help. Jack is able to help them locate her whereabouts by using the “Find My” feature for Loretta’s smart watch on her phone, which Beth luckily has. Jack agrees to go to the island to rescue Loretta. In Alan’s mind, he believes this will be a cooperative venture in which Jack assists him in rescuing Loretta but he still gets to be the fabled knight in shining armor.
When they meet up at the island, it becomes clear that Alan is more of an obstacle to retrieving Loretta than an assistant, but that doesn’t stop him from trying. Jack is able to breech the place Loretta is being held but is shot in the head before the trio can make it back to the airport and hightail it out of Dodge. Loretta escapes (still tied to a chair, I might add) with Alan and the parchment Fairfax wanted her to translate, and then off into the jungle they go.
You can only imagine the hijinks that ensue as Loretta and Alan are chased and tracked by Fairfax and his goons. The Lost City is both tenderhearted and hilarious in equal measure, and that of course can be chalked up in no small part to the incredible chemistry between Bullock and Tatum. My favorite part of the film has to be the scene where the pair wades through a river while trying to outrun Fairfax and Co. and once they’re out of it, Loretta notices that Alan is covered in leeches that she has to pick off from him, including several on his voluptuous buttocks. Yes, I said voluptuous. If you can look at Channing Tatum’s rear end and come up with a better descriptor, be my guest.
As you know, I don’t really like to spoil endings here on The Voracious Bibliophile, but I do promise that this movie has a happy one. Loretta and Alan both learn that sometimes miracles (and love) come from unexpected places and that we don’t always know people as well as we think we do. People (and books, for that matter) are almost always more than they appear to be on the surface.
Before I leave you, I’d also like to note that I love the age-gap at play in this movie. Channing Tatum is Sandra Bullocks’ love interest in this movie and in real life he is fifteen years her junior. Way to go for making a big-budget Hollywood picture where the woman is significantly older than the man and it’s never even mentioned. How’s that for progress?
The Lost City was released theatrically in the United States on March 25th, 2022 and is available to stream on several different video on-demand platforms.
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