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Movie Review: Love in the Time of Cholera November 19, 2007

Posted by judylobo in Movie Reviews.
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reviewblogpic1.jpgMovie Review: Love in the Time of Cholera

Alternate Title: Magnificent Obsession

Story: Something essential was lost in translation when the superb novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was brought to the screen, with all good intentions, by director Mike Newell and talented screen writer Ron Harwood.

The magic and involved character development of the novel perhaps got lost in efforts to bring all 350 pages of the book to the big screen. The good news is that it is a beautiful picture to watch (cinematographer Affonso Beato). You can enjoy it if you allow it to wash over you and get lost in the intricate detail of the time period (1879-1930). The bad news is that you simply do not care about anyone. Remember when Emperor Joseph II said Mozart’s music had ‘too many notes’? Well this film is so crammed with vignettes that if you did not read the novel I imagine you would be lost in space.

Fiorentino Ariza has been obsessively in love with Fermina for over 50 years. In today’s world he would probably be locked up as a stalker. We watch as the young Fiorentino woos and wins Fermina’s love only to be rejected and replaced by her marriage to a successful doctor. Fast forward through the years as we watch Fiorentino’s conquests of over 600 empty shtups that attempt to replace the one true love of his life. The leap to the big screen left out the poetry, passion, sweeping landscape and magic of the novel.

The novel soars and the movie hobbles. That said, if you enjoyed the book, want to be transported to another place in time and can tolerate a very flawed film you will find some pleasantries to be had.

Acting: It pains me to say anything negative about one of my favorites, Javier Bardem but here it is. He tackled the role with his usual largeness and presence on the screen and he is always fascinating to watch but even a mega-actor like Bardem could not pull this role off. One glaring error was the many shots of his naked buff, toned body (no complaints here) just did not match the hunched over retiring man his character had become. Giovanna Mezzogiorno was adequate as the object of affection but the prosthetic aging makeup was very distracting. Benjamin Bratt as the doctor was flat – but he is good to look at. John Leguizamo was awful as Fermina’s father. He was still in character from his role in Moulin Rouge. Brilliant actress Fernanda Montenegro was wonderful as Fiorentino’s mother.The supporting cast were fine including Liev Schreiber, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Unax Ugalde.

Read the whole review on this 5 Lobo Howls film including these categories:  Predilection, Critters, Sex Spectrum, Soundtrack, Opening Titles, Visual Art, Theater Audience,  Sappy Factor, Quirky Meter, Squirm Scale, Drift Factor, Predictability Level,Tissue Usage, Oscar Worthy, Big Screen or Rental and Length.

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