It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"Sweet November" passes off pathological behavior as romantic bliss. It's about two sick and twisted people playing mind games and calling it love. I don't know who I disliked more intensely--Nelson, the abrupt, insulting ad man played by Keanu Reeves, or Sara, Charlize Theron's narcissistic martyr. Reeves at least has the grace to look intensely uncomfortable during several scenes, including one involving a bag full of goodies, which we will get to later.
The movie is a remake of a 1968 film starring Sandy Dennis and Anthony Newley and, if memory serves, the same bed in a San Francisco bay window, although this movie is set in San Francisco and the earlier one was in Greenwich Village. Both films have the same conceit, which only a movie producer could believe: a beautiful girl takes men to her bed for one month at a time, to try to help and improve them. "You live in a box, and I can lift the lid," she explains. Why a month? "It's long enough to be meaningful and short enough to stay out of trouble," Sara says--wrong on both counts.
Read no further if you do not already know that she has another reason for term limits. She's dying. In the original movie the disease was described as "quite rare, but incurable." Here we get another clue, when Nelson opens Sara's medicine cabinet and finds, oh, I dunno, at a rough guess, 598 bottles of pills. The girl is obviously overmedicating. Give her a high colonic, send her to detox, and the movie is over.
Nelson is one of those insulting, conceited, impatient, coffee-drinking, cell-phone-using, Jaguar-driving advertising executives that you find in only two places: the movies and real life. His motto is: Speed up and smell the coffee. Sara, on the other hand, acts like she has all the time in the world, even though (sob!) she does not. She sits on the hood of Nelson's car and commits other crimes against the male libido that a woman absolutely cannot get away with, unless she looks exactly like Charlize Theron and insists on sleeping with you, and even then, she's pushing it.