Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Movie Madness -- "Love in the Time of Cholera"

Based on the wildly popular novel by Nobel Prize winning Columbia author Gabriel Garcia Marquez this film is set in the magical and sensual city of Cartagena, Columbia at the turn of the century, a man waits over 50 years for his one true love.  Florentino Ariza (Javier Bardem), a poet and clerk for his uncle (Hector Elizondo), falls helplessly in love when he spies Fermina Daza (Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno) through the window of her father's villa.  Through a series of passionate letters, Florentino gradually awakens the young beauty's heart.  When her father (John Leguizamo) discovers the budding affair, he is furious and vows to keep them apart forever.  He takes the screaming Fermina into the night and moves her to her family's farm in the countryside.  Years go by and the family returns to Cartagena and Fermina meets the young Dr. Juvenal Urbino (Benjamin Bratt) -- who has brought order and medicine to the city, stemming the waves of cholera that mysteriously besiege the area -- when she becomes ill and is treated by him.  Dr. Urbino asks Senior Daza for Fermina's hand and they are married.  Florentino is crushed.  The newlyweds go off to Paris for an extended period and when they returned to Cartagena to start their lives, Fermina has all but forgotten her first love; however, Florentino has not forgotten her.  He vows to someday have a life with her.  The years go by and Florentino discovers that sex with myriad women is the only thing that can help to ease his heartache.  His uncle leaves him the shipping company that he was clerk for and he becomes a very wealthy man.  His heart (and only his heart) is patient and he will wait a lifetime to be with his love.

I've always wanted to read this book, but somehow never have.  This film is beautiful, and the romantic in me was very moved by Florentino's character.  That being said, the rest of the characters in this story (perhaps it was just the acting) are very hard to like.  There is plenty of eye candy in the cast, sets and cinematography however, and on that basis, I recommend this film.  On a scale from 1 to 5, I give it a 3.

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