Written and created by Matthew Pejkovic

Contact: mattsm@mattsmoviereviews.net

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2007
LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA

STARRING:JAVIER BARDEM,GIOVANNA MEZZOGIORNO,BENJAMIN BRATT, CATALINA SANDINO MORENO,HECTOR ELIZONDO,FERNANDA MONTENEGRO, JOHN LEGUIZAMO,UNAX UGALDE, LIEV SCHREIBER

BASED ON THE NOVEL BY GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ

SCREENPLAY BY RONALD HARWOOD

PRODUCED BY SCOTT STEINDORFF

DIRECTED BY MIKE NEWELL

GENRE:DRAMA/ROMANCE

RATED:AUSTRALIA:M/UK:NA:USA:R

RUNNING TIME:139 MIN

Love in the Time of Cholera begins with the death of an elderly patriarch (Benjamin Bratt). This is soon followed by a declaration of love to his widow Fermina (Giovani Mezzogiorno) by a wealthy industrialist named Florentino (Javier Bardem).
The film then backtracks 50 odd years to Columbia, 1879, where Fermina and Florentino fall in love at first sight.
A secret courtship ensues unawares to Fermina's strict authoritarian father (John Leguizamo). However, it does not take long for him to find out about their forbidden love, moving her far away from Florentino's reach and arranging a marriage with Dr. Juvenal Urbino (Benjamin Bratt).
Heart broken, Florentino tries to move on by devouring himself in the pleasures of the flesh, moving from one conquest to another.
In the process, director Mike Newell gives it all he can in trying to bring Gabriel Garcia Marquez's sweeping romance novel to the big screen. However, the only thing he accomplishes is creating a sickly sweet, highly erotic, and at times humorous melodrama, which does not meet the high expectations placed on it.
First things first: the look of this film is fantastic. Shot on location in Columbia - at the urging of the countries Vice President - cinematographer Affonso Beato provides striking photography of the South American country's beautiful scenery.
The art direction by Jonathan McKinstry and his team, as well as the set designs by Ali Griff, are spectacular. The same goes for Marit Allen's costume design and the superb make up effects, which successfully ages the actors.
Yet for all of its lush production design and its abundant talk of love, this is a film that comes off feeling surprisingly empty.
A lot of this comes down to its script, which was written by Oscar winning screenwriter Roger Harwood, who was charged with the daunting task of bringing Marquez's words to life.
The dialogue in particular is rather poor, as Marquez's sweet nothings just do not translate well on the big screen. Perhaps keeping the films dialogue to its original Spanish would have made a difference. One thing is for sure: it would have suited the films environment much better.
The films shaky script no doubt had an effect upon its performers. This is a shame, as the cast features three of my favourite Latino leading men in Benjamin Bratt, who puts on the charm as Fermina's want to be suitor; John Leguizamo, who spits venom as her over protective father; and Javier Bardem, who plays the polar opposite of his No Country for Old Men hitman, expressing a well of emotions as the lovelorn poet consumed and devoured by love for his Fermina, who is played well by the steel blue eyed Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno.
But try as they might, they cannot add spirit to a spirit-less, yet beautiful looking film. This is not the passionate love story I thought it would be.

**1/2
 
 

 

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