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For years, she was typecast as a frosty English rose. But then something remarkable happened – and Kristin Scott Thomas blossomed into one of the most interesting actresses of our age

FILM / On love and social death: Adam Mars-Jones on the difficult job of making romantic comedy for a modern audience in Anthony Minghella's Mr Wonderful

When, with a careless strum of the keyboard, Gus (Matt Dillon) loses a vital piece of his ex-wife's academic work on his computer, he tells her to pray to St Anthony for its return - St Anthony finds things. Anthony Minghella, director of Mr Wonderful (12) isn't ready for cinema canonisation just yet, but he does have a great knack for finding truth in played-out situations, walking through the dead heartland of cliche unscathed. In Truly Madly Deeply he found some of the emotional ugliness of grief that Ghost had tactfully airbrushed out (and Juliet Stevenson found the indignity and mucus that has always been missing from screen crying scenes). In his new film, Minghella finds freshness and charm in the situation of an estranged couple who can't quite get free of each other, and will ultimately come together with a positive clang of reconciliation. There can only be one Philadelphia Story, but Mr Wonderful makes a good shot at the difficult assignment of making romantic comedy for a modern audience.

FILM / A really bad Dwight in: Sheila Johnston reviews the charming This Boy's Life, John Woo's Hard Target and Me Ivan You Abraham

AS Anthony Minghella observes this week (see interview opposite), the hard sell is growing harder. We might bemoan the fact that The Fugitive is squatting in Warner's new West End multiplex in no less than four screens, but it's increasingly difficult to lure viewers into the equally as good, but lower-profile pictures playing next door.

FILM / Some kind of wonderful: Anthony Minghella would like you to forget Sleepless in Seattle. He tells Sheila Johnston why

YOU'D think it was enough to make a highly regarded film, one which won awards and proved its commercial mettle on both sides of the Atlantic. It should be enough, too, to be a respected writer in a range of media, for theatre (Made in Bangkok), television (What If It's Raining?; Inspector Morse) and radio (Hang Up; Coffee and Cigarettes). But no: none of the above sufficed for the wonderful world of movie promotion, and when Anthony Minghella's first film, Truly, Madly, Deeply, began to attract attention, it was pitched, almost inevitably, as the thinking person's Ghost.

TELEVISION / Hired to make drama out of a crisis: He once had the gall to turn Noele Gordon out of Crossroads, but does Charles Denton have what it takes to turn around the nosedive of BBC drama? Sue Summers talks to the new head of drama who must keep his head while others worry about losing theirs

It's a piquant fact that, before Charles Denton became the BBC's new head of drama, he ran an independent production company called Zenith, responsible, among other things, for ITV hits like Inspector Morse and successful films like Personal Services and Prick Up Your Ears. Some people may rush to the observation that the man from Zenith is taking over BBC drama at its nadir.

BOOK REVIEW / The villa of the peace: The English patient - Michael Ondaatje: Bloomsbury, pounds 14.99

MICHAEL ONDAATJE has invented a way of writing a novel that approximates the mind's habit of coming back again and again to the same moments of ecstasy, shame, peril or slipped meanings. Robbe-Grillet pointed the way towards this form in Jealousy, but in a much more austere and impersonal style.
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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