Serendipity (film)

Serendipity is a 2001 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Chelsom, written by Marc Klein, and starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. The music score was composed by Alan Silvestri. The film grossed $77.5 million on a $28 million budget.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Chelsom
Produced byPeter Abrams
Simon Fields
Robert L. Levy
Written byMarc Klein
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyJohn De Borman
Edited byChristopher Greenbury
Tapestry Films
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release date
  • September 13, 2001 (2001-09-13) (TIFF)
  • October 5, 2001 (2001-10-05) (United States)
Running time
91 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$28 million[2]
Box office$77.5 million[3]


During the Christmas season in New York City, Jonathan Trager encounters Sara Thomas at Bloomingdale's while they attempt to buy the same pair of black cashmere gloves. While they are both in relationships, a mutual attraction leads to sharing dessert at Serendipity 3. Sara reveals her opinion that fate determines many of her decisions in life. They encounter each other again when they both have to return to the restaurant to retrieve things that they had left behind. Considering this to be fate, they spend more time together and just after they exchange phone numbers Sara's gets blown into the wind. She interprets this as a bad omen so instead suggests alternative ways to put their numbers out into the universe.

She suggests that one put their name and phone number on a $5 bill and the other on the front endpaper of a book that will be sold the next day. If each finds the other's item they are meant to be together, and can make contact. Several years later, Jonathan is in New York City getting engaged to Halley Buchanan. On the same day, Sara is in San Francisco and comes home to find her boyfriend Lars Hammond proposing to her. Cold feet ensues as their respective wedding dates approach; they start their attempt to reconnect.

Sara flies to New York City and her friend Eve persuades her to give up the chase—they go to Serendipity. The $5 bill given to Eve in change has Jonathan's contact information. Jonathan gets as a gift from Halley on the night of the wedding rehearsal the same book that has Sara's phone number. He and his friend Dean fly to San Francisco to find her. Jonathan sees a woman at Sara's house who he thinks is Sara but is Sara's sister, Caroline, fooling around with her boyfriend. Jonathan believes that his chasing ghosts means that he does not want to marry Halley. On board a plane to return to San Francisco, Sara is buying a head set and finds that she has Eve's wallet with the $5 bill of Jonathan. She disembarks and makes her way to his apartment. His neighbors tell her about his wedding at the Waldorf Astoria where she discovers that his wedding has been called off.

Jonathan wanders Central Park, and comes upon a bench at the ice rink that has a jacket Sara had left behind earlier. He uses the jacket for a pillow while lying in the middle of the rink. He has with him one black cashmere glove. He gazes up at the falling snow and a cashmere glove falls on his chest. He sees it is Sara; the glove is hers. They introduce themselves to each other formally for the first time. In the final scene, Sara and Jonathan are at Bloomingdale's, enjoying champagne on their anniversary at the same spot where they first met.



Serendipity was shot in New Jersey, New York City, Ontario, and San Francisco, California in the summer of 2001. Following the 9/11 attacks, images of the World Trade Center towers were digitally removed from all skyline shots of New York City.


Serendipity premiered at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival.[4] The film opened at #2 at the U.S. box office earning $13,309,241 in its opening weekend, behind Training Day. With an estimated budget of $28 million, this was the first of Chelsom's films to turn a profit.[2] After some of the biggest commercial failures of all time (Town & Country),[5] Serendipity marked the first of several box-office successes for Chelsom, peaking in 2009 with Hannah Montana: The Movie. The film grossed $50,294,317 in the domestic box office and $27,221,987 internationally for a worldwide total of $77,516,304.[3]


Based on 130 reviews, the film holds a 59% approval rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. The site's consensus states: "Light and charming, Serendipity could benefit from less contrivances."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a 52/100 rating, signifying "mixed or average reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[8]

Roger Ebert gave the film 1½ out of 4 stars.[9]


Serendipity (Music From The Miramax Motion Picture)
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedOctober 5, 2001
LabelSony Music Entertainment Inc.
Columbia Records
Miramax Records

Not included within the release of the soundtrack

See also


  1. "SERENDIPITY (PG)". Buena Vista International. British Board of Film Classification. October 31, 2001. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  2. "Box Office Results from". Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  3. "Serendipity (2001)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  4. "Serendipity (2001)". AllMovie. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  5. "All-Time Best & Worst at the Box-Office". Retrieved March 9, 2010.
  6. "Serendipity". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  7. "Serendipity Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  8. "CinemaScore".
  9. "Serendipity Movie Review & Film Summary". Ebert, Roger. October 5, 2001. Retrieved May 6, 2014. Bah Humbug !
| Movie budget records. (1997-2010). Retrieved from
| Serendipity. (2001). New York Times, Retrieved from
| Serendipity. (1997-2010). Retrieved from
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