Signs Of Life

  • 1989
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • Drama

SIGNS OF LIFE, which was coproduced by PBS' American Playhouse, suffers from the usual PBS-sponsored symptoms: despite excellent acting and vivid visuals, it's ultimately too bland and contrived to be very rewarding. Set in a dying seaside town in Maine, the action revolves around the last day of business at the boatyard owned by crotchety old shipbuilder...read more

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SIGNS OF LIFE, which was coproduced by PBS' American Playhouse, suffers from the usual PBS-sponsored symptoms: despite excellent acting and vivid visuals, it's ultimately too bland and contrived to be very rewarding. Set in a dying seaside town in Maine, the action revolves around the

last day of business at the boatyard owned by crotchety old shipbuilder Owen Couglin (Arthur Kennedy). Having built their last boat, Owen and his employees (Beau Bridges, Kevin J. O'Connor, Vincent Philip D'Onofrio, and Michael Lewis) must look for new work and start new lives--a difficult,

humbling task that entails the unpacking of considerable emotional baggage, though the film ends on a predictably upbeat note. SIGNS OF LIFE is certainly heartfelt, but it is also gratingly earnest and cliched. Moments of genuine subtlety are defeated by the script's ham-handed symbolism, and the

use of some very hoary screenwriter's ploys (the retarded character who forces others to learn more about themselves; the ghost that bedevils Owen's conscience) is especially annoying. Kennedy had made his acting debut in CITY FOR CONQUEST in 1940 and went on to appear in more than 60 features,

including THE LUSTY MEN, THE DESPERATE HOURS, and ELMER GANTRY. He hadn't appeared in a film in a nearly a decade before this one, and died shortly after the film was released.

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  • Released: 1989
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: SIGNS OF LIFE, which was coproduced by PBS' American Playhouse, suffers from the usual PBS-sponsored symptoms: despite excellent acting and vivid visuals, it's ultimately too bland and contrived to be very rewarding. Set in a dying seaside town in Maine, t… (more)

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