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TV Review

Reunion Rekindles Desire in 'Only Love'

May 09, 1998|LYNNE HEFFLEY

Need a break from all those fact-based, women-in-jeopardy, murder, mayhem and courtroom dramas? Try the deliciously over-the-top, glamorous tear-jerker "Only Love," CBS' four-hour movie starring Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Rob Morrow and Mathilda May.

Based on Erich Segal's novel, this globe-hopping romantic saga, airing Sunday and Monday, is a series of flashbacks inspired by the unexpected reunion between brilliant neurosurgeon Matthew Hiller (Morrow) and his long-lost Italian love Sylvia (the sleekly cosmopolitan May).

She, suffering from an inoperable brain tumor--the symptoms are high-fashion headgear, gorgeous, shadowed eyes and elegant cheekbones--hopes that Matthew's experimental treatment can save her. It is their first meeting since their passionate love affair ended 15 years before.

Here's the scoop: Sylvia and Matthew were once young doctors in love on a humanitarian mission in a war-torn African country. When a crisis puts Matthew at death's door, Sylvia saves his life with the strings-attached aid of her rich and powerful ("Life is business, darling") father (Paul Freeman).

The price for her sacrifice? Instead of marrying the rather nebbish Matthew (think "Northern Exposure"), Sylvia must tie the knot with a fabulously wealthy, adoring, handsome hunk named Nico (Georges Corraface).

When Sylvia reappears, Matthew--so haunted by his loss that he has been unable to (brilliantly) play the piano--has just found a second chance at love with his best friend from college, the beautiful (and brilliant) cellist Evie (a very charming Tomei).

Will Sylvia and Matthew find that their love will not be denied? Will Evie play her cello in lonely melancholy? Will Matthew be able to play the piano again (brilliantly) after 15 years? Will Nico prove his unworthiness to be Sylvia's soul-mate by disliking the Broadway hit "Chicago"? Will there be sunsets, balloons in the park, sumptuous hotels, idyllic trysts, exotic locales, international fame, poetic swoons and noble suffering?

You betcha.


* "Only Love" airs 9-11 p.m. Sunday and Monday on CBS (Channel 2). The network has rated it TV-PG-SV (may be unsuitable for young children, with advisories for sex and violence).

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