quinta-feira, 31 de maio de 2012
Love in the Time of Cholera Movie Review
A ‘Love’ Story That's Hard to Like
By Rebecca Murray, About.com Guide
Directed by Mike Newell (Mona Lisa Smile) and adapted from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ novel by Ronald Harwood (Being Julia), Love in the Time of is a surprisingly passionless love story. Flitting back and forth between five decades and littered with supporting players who come and go with little explanation, Love in the Time of Cholera takes what appears to be a very simple plot and twists it into a convoluted tale focused on characters that simply aren’t that interesting.
A man never stops loving one woman for five decades, although he shows his undying loyalty to his unrequited love by bedding 600 others in her stead. During those same five decades, the object of his desire weds a distinguished doctor noted for taking care of cholera patients. She has one, maybe two – or it could be three or four – children, but never achieves happiness in life. After dozens of years she figures out she might have been better off with the young man whose proposal she accepted and then rejected. The end. Stretch that story over two hours and 15 minutes and you’ve got the clunky, confusing yet sporadically entertaining Love in the Time of Cholera.
Javier Bardem stars as Florentino, the man whose unfailing love leaves him in emotional turmoil as well as feeling physically ill at times. Falling in love with Fermina (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) the instant he sets eyes on her, Florentino spends his entire adult life mooning over the woman who spurned his advances. As the lovesick Florentino, Bardem’s expressive face suits his character’s forlorn demeanor. Bardem brings the film to life in fits and starts as he wiles away the years by filling his bed – and diary – with a succession of intriguing women of various ages, attractiveness, and social classes with whom he connects but never loves.
Mezzogiorno is a fine actress however she doesn’t seem to fit the part of a woman so magnetic, so engaging, two men would fall immediately under her spell. Mezzogiorno’s Fermina is stand-offish and disconnected. That sparkle isn’t there leaving one to puzzle out what these men see in a woman who shows no more than a passing interest in romance or love. Fermina’s cousin, played by Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace), comes across as much more likely to have won over the hearts of strangers after just a quick meeting. When the two share scenes, it’s Moreno your eyes are drawn to and it’s Moreno’s character that has a real energy to her.
Benjamin Bratt completes the love triangle as the handsome Dr. Juvenal Urbino. Much is made of his reputation with cholera patients, however not much to do with the disease is included in the film. Bratt’s not given much to work with as his character is nothing more than a caricature of a snappily dressed, successful doctor. Who he really is, how he came to be so passionate about his work, or why he so suddenly and inexplicably fell for Fermina is never spelled out, and Bratt doesn’t exactly take the little we know about this good doctor and run with it.
Although he doesn’t portray Florentino as a young adult (that job's smoothly handled by Unax Ugalde, who can easily pass as Bardem’s younger brother), Bardem is required to age up to his 70s and he very convincingly plays a senior citizen still hungry for love and life. Mezzogiorno is handed the task of playing Fermina from her young 20s into old age although, through no fault of her own, she doesn’t really show signs of aging until she’s supposed to be way up in years. In fact, all three main characters – Bardem, Mezzogiorno, and Bratt – appear to age at different rates. It’s annoying, and it takes you out of the film as you try and figure out whether events are occurring simultaneously or the scenes are meant to be flashing forward or skipping backward in time. The lead players' ages don't match up at times, and trying to keep track of the time line becomes a complicated task.
The Bottom Line
Having sat through Love in the Time of Cholera without the benefit of having read the Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel that inspired the film, I’m left feeling lost and a little empty. There must have been a lot more meat on the bones of the story in Marquez’ popular novel for that work to have been so well-received and widely acclaimed. Love in the Time of Cholera, the big screen version, assumes its audience will be willing and able to read between the lines and fill in story gabs and flesh out characters. However there’s not enough on the screen to interest us into putting that much extra thought into the film.
Because we’re shown a glimpse of the story’s final act in the films first few minutes, there’s nothing to look forward to and wonder about as the plot moves sluggishly forward. There's also a problem with continuity in that Fermina and the good doctor are shown as the proud parents of a newborn. Said child then disappears for the length of the film, only to reappear - along with a batch of siblings - toward the end of the movie.
Love in the Time of Cholera is much more of a comedy than you’d assume from the synopsis, however a lot of the humor comes from very uncomfortable situations (I have a problem laughing at a man forced into sex, even if it's shown later he enjoyed the experience). The film changes tone often and there’s no cohesiveness to the story. Ultimately, Love in the Time of Cholera is a romantic film without any real heart.
Posted by Francisco Augusto Vaz Brasil at 17:55