Monday, November 12, 2007

Review - Love in the Time of Cholera

I feel like a real reviewer today, because I actually get to review a movie that hasn't been released yet. Last night I saw an advance screening of Love in the Time of Cholera, which opens tomorrow:

Love in the Time of Cholera (2007, Newall)

A naive Florentino is instantly smitten with a young beauty, Fermina, who has just moved to town (late 19th century Cartagena, Colombia). Their love grows through letters, but is forbidden by the girl's father who hopes to find a more suitable husband for his daughter. Now, many decades later, after her husband has died, Florentino tries again to court his lady love.

I was a little nervous about the kind of movie I was in for when the line to get in was peppered with silver and white coifs. It confirmed the fears I'd had from the previews that this was going to be a very straight-laced, snooze-fest of a period piece. I couldn't have been more wrong (or more ageist). This film was delightful, witty, romantic, and beautiful. I especially loved the wit of the approach to this film. Not having read the book on which the movie is based, I don't know if this comes from the original source material, or if it was infused with wit by the director, Mike Newall (Four Weddings and a Funeral). Either way, I liked it. That element alone elevated this movie for me to something beyond the typically dreary-but-good period film. That, and there is a whole lot of lovin going on as Florentino drowns his sorrows in the bosoms of hundreds of women over the course of his life.

This film completely won me over and made me want to pick up a copy of the book. [SPOILER WARNING] I have to also applaud the filmmakers for depicting elderly lovers in a way that felt honest, intimate, and touching. This is reality, and one that personally gives me hope that real emotional and physical love will go on as I enter my old age. And I have to wonder if there will be more elderly love scenes in movies now that the Baby Boomers are getting up there. [END SPOILER]

There were really only two downsides to this movie, and one of them I'm not sure whether I can even blame on the movie. Can someone please tell me if the guitar music sounded warped throughout the movie at your theater too, or if it was just my theater? The debate rages on in my group, but some of us believe it had to be intentional because nothing else in the film's soundtrack sounded distorted, including other music. If this was intentional, what a terrible choice! It was unbelievably distracting and annoying and really compromised my ability to let go, and connect with the characters and story. The other issue I had was with the age make-up, which I both loved and hated, but never stopped being aware of. Sometimes it was astoundingly real, sometimes it looked like a cheap high-school theater production trying to pull off "old people." The actors also needed to work with some coaches a bit more to achieve a more realistic elderly gate and speech. [SPOILER WARNING] I wonder if the frontal nudity of an elderly woman was more palatable because the audience was keenly aware that the actress was young and underneath lots of make up. [END SPOILER]

I have another tiny complaint to add: John Leguizamo is not good at accents. He hid this in Moulin Rouge with a silly lisp. Here, he is unintentionally comical as Fermina's angry, ranting father, spitting a thinly-veiled New York accent out at his movie-daughter. I couldn't help but laugh at him when I should have been connecting with Fermina's crushing disappointment.

1 comment:

Jimbo said...

Hmm, isn't that the famous Garcia Marquez novel?! That's one of my favorites. Thanks for the review.


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