Sunday, March 23, 2008

Love in the Time of Cholera

"Florentino, rejected by the beautiful Fermina at a young age, devotes much of his adult life to carnal affairs as a desperate attempt to heal his broken heart."

Essentially, Florentino waits fifty years for his childhood sweetheart Fermina, torn from him by her disapproving father, to be a widow so he can be reunited with her. In the mean time, he has hundreds (he counts them) of superficial affairs to pass the time.

Love in the Time of Cholera is marked from the beginning to about half-way through with sappy, overwrought dialogue. Slowly, the film seems to get better as time passes - either that or it sort of grows on you. The Netflix Jacket said 1 Hr 40 minutes but it was longer (2 Hrs 19 minutes) and at times seemed even longer than that. Aparently the film is meant to be one part whimsy, one part soap opera and one part sweeping saga but it really doesn't work in this case.

None of the cast, which included Benjamin Bratt and Liev Schreiber, who makes a cameo, gave particularly memorable performances. In fact, you are left to wonder if John Leguizamo, who played Fermina's father, was owed his part for some reason, a very poor casting choice is exceeded by a painfully sloppy performance. His character appeared to be only slightly older than his teenage daughter. Thankfully, the relevance of his role was short lived.

Florentino is played by Javier Bardem, who is the centerpiece of the trailer from No Country for Old Men. His fans (I haven't seen No Country for Old Men yet but have heard he makes that movie) might be disappointed here.

Our interest was inexplicably retained, if only just enough to stick it out to the end, one finger on the eject button. Maybe it was the historical context and scenery of the late 19th century. The very ending, predictable as it was, was more graphic than what was needed and yet somehow seemed necessary for the story. Talk about special effects!

Maybe I just didn't get it. ...or maybe you just have to read the book.


Night Writer said...

Speaking of love in a time of cholera, you might want to put "The Painted Veil" in your queue if you haven't seen it already. Edward Norton Jr and Naomi Watts (I think) in tale of a doctor and his unfaithful life who go to China to battle the cholera epidemic. Not an especially happy movie, but beautifully filmed and acted and the story becomes compelling.

Oh, I like the new look, btw.

jroosh said...

The Painted Veil

Looks like I somewhat agreed.