By Fred Topel | Image property of New Line Cinema.
Love in the Time of Cholera
As a lover of film, I'm interested in pretty much anything, but Love in the Time of Cholera is the rare type of movie that I would not be into on my own. I'm just not interested in period pieces, but this is where I become an objective professional. I have to see it anyway and it becomes a part of my critical language from here forward.
Review: Love in the Time of Cholera
Florentino (Javier Bardem) gets a youthful crush on Fermina (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), but her father won't let them marry. So she goes off with a doctor (Benjamin Bratt) while Florentino pines away. Once his mom starts pimping for him, he has a series of affairs, but never really overcomes his first love.
The film is not boring, considering the simple, tried and true forbidden romance story. It doesn't languish in the period details. Stuff keeps happening and you can follow it, not like so many Jane Austen family courtship dramas. The language is modern, just with accents.
It is a pretty accurate portrayal of childhood romance. That is what unrequited love feels like, and that's exactly how grounded it is in reality. That doesn't make it romantic to me. It's pathetic. Basically, Florentino never grows up. Fermina becomes an old wretch but he's still pining for someone he never really knew as a person. That's kind of frustrating.
He never becomes a don juan, despite all the lovers he takes. There are enough sporadic nipple glimpses to keep audiences from zoning out, and he gets some women into trouble. That makes it more interesting than just Mr. Ladies Man. The final love scene is an image I've never seen on film before, so you go.
Seeing Bardem as a crybaby naïf is interesting. There's never a moment that you don't believe him, and shows he's one of those actors who can just become whatever he has to be, chiseled good looks be damned.
The old age makeup is weak and distracting. You get the point, but it looks like they're still young, just wearing wrinkle suits. There's a shot from within Florentino's typewriter. Okay. Guess that was interesting.
For the swoony types that just love frilly shirts and flowery prose, I can't see any reason they wouldn't like Love in the Time of Cholera. It's no The Notebook, but that's just my opinion.