American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
Norman Jewison's "Only You" is the kind of lighthearted romance that's an endangered species in today's Hollywood. It is total fantasy, light as a feather, contrary to all notions of common sense, it features a couple of stars who are really good kissers - and it takes place mostly in Venice, Rome, and the glorious Italian hillside town of Positano. What more do you want? Movies like this were once written for Katharine Hepburn ("Summertime"), Audrey Hepburn ("Roman Holiday") and Rossano Brazzi ("Three Coins in the Fountain"). Or remember Clark Gable and Sophia Loren in "It Happened in Naples"? There is a case to be made that no modern actors have quite the innocence or the faith to play such heedless lovers, but Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. somehow manage to lose all the baggage of our realistic, cynical age, and give us a couple of fools in love.
The movie begins when the heroine, Faith, is 11. She and her cousin Kate ask a Ouija board who she will marry, and the answer is clear: She will marry a man named Damon Bradley. A few years later, a fortuneteller tells her the same thing. Such a coincidence cannot be ignored, and so "Damon Bradley" becomes a psychic beacon for the appropriately named Faith.
Years pass, however, and no Damon Bradley appears, and finally Faith, now played by Marisa Tomei, becomes engaged to a podiatrist (John Benjamin Hickey). Then, on the eve of her wedding, she receives a call from a friend of the groom's, who cannot attend the ceremony because he is on his way to Venice. The friend's name, of course, is Damon Bradley, and Faith abandons all her wedding plans, of course, to fly after him to Venice.
Peter, the man who has made the call, is played by Robert Downey Jr., and one of the questions posed by the movie is whether he is, in fact, really Damon Bradley. What is interesting is that he may be, even if he's not - a paradox you will understand after you see the movie. Whether he is or isn't hardly matters after Faith and Peter fall in love in Venice, or after they continue their romance in Rome, or after it nearly comes to pieces in Positano.