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Head in the Clouds
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Reviews & Ratings for
Head in the Clouds More at IMDbPro »

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96 out of 127 people found the following review useful:

Sexy and stylish!

9/10
Author: Kristine (kristinedrama14@msn.com) from Chicago, Illinois
14 February 2005

5.5?! I cannot believe some of the reviews on this movie. I really thought that "Head in the Clouds" was a great movie. It has accurate history, remarkable acting, very cool costumes, and a interesting story. Charlize and Stuart are in their second film together and bring so much excitement to the screen. Penelope Cruz does great as the supporting role as well. I would highly recommend this movie for a good watch. Please, do not base this movie on the rating from IMDb. I'm telling you right now, this and "Casino" are the ratings I'm really disagreeing with. They deserve higher, especially "Head in the Clouds". Give this movie a chance, you won't regret it.

9/10

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44 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

World War II from the European View

8/10
Author: gradyharp from United States
27 March 2006

Writer and Director John Duigan has added to his cinematic stature with this recent film about the interrelated responses of three countries - England, France, Spain - to the early phases of WW II and in doing so gives some inadvertent insight into how the continent was so endangered by the little known bad boy Hitler in the years leading up to the horror of a second World War.

The title seems very appropriate - taken from the quip of 'Head in the clouds, Feet on the ground' - as the lead character Gilda (a radiantly beautiful Charlize Theron) seems to float above all of the reality of warring struggles in 1933, focusing her life on paramours, expensive clothes, and 'dangerous liaisons' with a varied assortment of men, all the while keeping a firm stance on needs of her strangely disjointed life. Indeed, the opening of the film finds Gilda in need of shelter from a night's fling with a Cambridge lover and she knocks on the door of a poor struggling Irish student Guy (Stuart Townsend), thus beginning a lasting affair that coasts through the entire story.

Guy eventually follows Gilda to Paris where she is a popular photographer living with her gallerist, but also living with her lesbian lover Mia (Penelope Cruz). Gilda, Guy, and Mia become a triptych and it is only the impact of the rise of fascism in Spain (Mia's home) that separates the ménage a trois: idealistic Guy and compassionate Mia are off to fight Franco while Gilda is left behind to admit to the encroaching threat of Nazis in France and enter into her own version of involvement.

How these three weather the war and resolve their varied degrees of complicity provides the film's finale. The cast is strong, the settings are gorgeous (in all three countries) as captured by cinematographer Paul Sarossy, and the musical score by Terry Frewer introduces a potential talent for film composition (while borrowing heavily from French cabaret songs, symphonic music by Edward Elgar, and pieces of Francis Poulenc). But the overall reason for enjoying this rather long film is the interplay of Theron, Townsend and Cruz in a variety of richly sensuous vignettes. Well worth watching. Grady Harp

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36 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

WWII epic involving three friends

10/10
Author: dianeoban-1 from Los Angeles, CA
18 November 2005

This is an absolutely top-rate film, and it's a crime it only has two stars. This finely done epic is perfect in every detail - concept, acting, direction, editing, sound, music, set decoration, costume design and everything else. It is also a crime that Sony didn't get behind it. This is an Academy Award level film that was thrown in the trash by Sony and it's distributors. I can do nothing but complain about the state of the entire American film industry when crappy remakes are pushed to the hilt, and drops of golden genius like this are ignored. Of course, the studio couldn't think of a "franchise" to make out of it, and there are no action figures to push. How long with audiences put up with the junk being pushed down our throats, remake after remake? Well, if recent box office is any judge, the public is getting wise. The studios, of course, are clueless.

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23 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

A Major Movie - A Must See - How did I not hear of it?

9/10
Author: bgc-4 from United States
9 July 2006

Given the wonderful quality of Head In The Clouds I don't know how I never heard of it until I stumbled over it on the Netflix web page and decided to rent it.

This is a major movie. It is an emotionally powerful movie. It has a huge scope both in time and space, historical accuracy, an excellent, and at times complex, script, outstanding performances by all concerned, great direction, and superb cinematography. I loved it and I cried at the end.

Charlize Theron was fantastic as Gilda. I have known people such as the character she played and she had it just right. With her body language she told us she was rich, talented, cynical, very loyal to her real friends, and in the end so very brave. Her voice is such that sometimes I think she is channeling Theresa Russell.

Stuart Townsend played his part of a quiet underclass Belfast Irishman, Guy, perfectly. Some reviewers were disappointed that his performance wasn't stronger. Hey, Rambo wouldn't have survived long as a British operative in Nazi occupied Paris. Townsend triumphs in subtlety and his character narrates some of the story.

Penelope Cruz was perfect as Mia, who had been physically injured by Fascists in Spain when they came to take her brother away, presumably to be executed given that the time immediately preceded the Spanish Civil War of the 1930's.

Thomas Kretschmann is brilliant as Frans Bietrich, the personification of Nazi evil: educated, urbane, thoughtful, and completely ruthless when torturing and murdering.

The repartee among the three friends, Gilda, Mia, and Guy, during the prewar period is very realistic. I've participated in similar conversations. There are several back referencing jokes. You have to pay attention. In addition we see the best presentation of a three way sexual relationship I've ever seen on film. These three people love each other and this is beautifully communicated.

World War II was a cataclysm that shook the world. The free peoples were fighting for the life of their civilizations against what was one of the most evil regimes to ever exist through all of history, the German Third Reich. The story starts well before WWII and we are shown the good life of a wealthy young woman and her friends in Paris. We are then taken to the Spanish Civil War and on into WWII. The things portrayed in this movie HAPPENED although maybe not exactly as in the story shown; however, similar things are well documented as occurring during WWII. If one doesn't have much knowledge of the history of that period the story may seem far fetched. It isn't. For all I know the story is factual even though there is the usual statement at the end about it all being fiction.

More about Kretschmann: Toward the end of the movie there is a scene in which his character is supervising the torture of a young woman member of the French Resistance. The torturers are using the near drowning method, waterboarding is what the CIA calls it today. He is seated with his back to his underlings and gives the order to immerse her, then plays with a loose thread on his shirt cuff while timing the immersion. He fiddles with his cuff links. He is clearly bored. Just another day at the office. When he decides she isn't going to talk he gives the order to put her under and and never orders her to be raised. I have heard it phrased: "The banality of evil". Kretschmann and Duigan bring it off to perfection.

This is a must see movie. It will stick with you. Parts of it will come back to haunt you for at least several days. As I said before, this is powerful stuff.

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47 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Good performances, but story suspect

6/10
Author: David Carstensen from New York, NY
17 September 2004

Charlize dominates this film not only because of her bathtub scene, but because she turns in the best performance of all the actors. This part provides a needed relief from the part that she had in "Monster" and shows her to be a truly beautiful woman.

Personally, I feel that Stuart Townsend is in over his head in trying to be the man that captivates the debutante of France as played by Miss Theron. He plays the part well but seems to be miscast in a role that needs a man that is stronger physically as well as mentally.

Penelope Cruz is outstanding as the lame Spanish beauty. She provides a excellent performance as the stereotypical cripple with a golden heart as she uses her earnings as a model to become a nurse.

The story provides little, if any, inspiration and needs a stronger hand at the screen writing duties.

I was well entertained by this movie and thought the total effect was to keep me interested although it did become predictable in some spots. Perhaps my rating of 7 is partly because I thought that Charlize should have held out for a stronger screenplay for her next movie.

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23 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Tremendous One

10/10
Author: anariko_san from Baku, Azerbaijan
11 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Head in Clouds, is I can say tremendous movie, perfect one, two even four thumbs up. Since i watched this movie I'm in deep impression, I've cried three days after watching it. The crew is perfect, the perfect three, Charlize, Penelope and Stuart made this movie unbeatable hit. If I would be in a judge rewarding Oscar i would give it out without any doubt, not only as a best movie to all three actors. Head in clouds is life story, and I believe it's a true life story, it must happened before and now screened. I've payed attention on every single moment at every single episode of this movie, and it was great, but one thing make me feel bad, the last moment when she been killed by french partisans. Actually I didn't want her to be killed, at least someone should warn'em that she do all these for her country she lies under Nazi officer for her country's future, part of sacrifice herself, but destiny. Maybe she gone far further that no one could believe in this. So all these above about what real life consist of, Love, pain, honour, patriotism, loss and severe use of Destiny. Thanks to Charlize, thanks to Penelope, thanks to Stuart and Thanks to John Duigan.

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20 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Although rather stylized, a really good story.

9/10
Author: rogermanning995 from United States
5 December 2005

Charlize is terrific. And as if that wasn't enough, there's Penelope too! The story addresses many aspects of the times and places in which it takes place, particularly nazi occupied Paris. Themes of sexuality, expanded definitions of relationships between lovers, loyalty, duty to humanity, futility of war, art, decadence...

The big question it poses is when is it time for an individual recognize the horror taking place in their world and to put aside their personal comfort and sacrifice themselves in resistance to a greater evil? One living in the world's current superpower might be asking themselves such a thing these days.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Too much and not enough

5/10
Author: Dane (dane11) from Loveland, CO
13 January 2009

I'll keep this simple -- this movie could have been great, but it wanted to be too much. It wanted to be epic, it wanted to be about friends and it wanted to be an anti-war movie and on top of that, it wanted to be about WWII and the underground work. I wanted to like this movie and while it's not impossible to watch, it is slow and plodding some times. This is a movie that really could have hit the audience hard, but it just kind of laid there instead.

We go through a long, long development of the relationship between the two main characters Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend. This could have been story enough, but no, we have to follow them over a 10 or 15 year period and go all the way through WWII. Early on, we are introduced to Penelope Cruz who is a good friend to Theron's character. And from this we kind of slip into a pseudo-three-way that never fully develops. Then there is the Spanish Civil War that Cruz's character feels she must partake in as well as Townsend. Again, this could have been an interesting story all on its own. Finally, we get into WWII and it drags on and on and I started to lose interest in the characters and the story.

It's all just too much of a BIG story and, at the same time, not enough of a story to really hold our interest. The actors were okay, though sometimes I felt like Theron was just reading her lines. Townsend, for the most part fits the role, but other times he comes across as too modern for the time period.

There are a few twists and turns here that keep the viewer interested, but overall, its not as good as it could have been. A shorter version, about one of the many story lines could make this a really, really good film.

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21 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

A real surprise!

9/10
Author: Gert (gert@gertschepens.be) from Belgium
9 March 2006

Yes, I did just rank this movie at a 9. This is an Unusual high rank by my standards, yet I do think this one deserves it.

A movie that portrays the life of 2 young people and a lot of others surrounding them. World war 2 is coming at the start and ends with the movie. A romantic setting. This movie is classified as Drama, Romance, War and it really had me scared when I put it on. I'm not the type for those things apart, let alone compressed together in about two hours.

I was surprised. Very pleasantly surprised. It turned out to be a thrilling life story, filled with Eros (I should have known when I saw the R rating..) and adventure. It didn't fall into the usual overly sweet scenes that leave you with a sugar mouth no water can ever remedy. Instead it kept up a flirtatious pace all along, with dramatic events to eventually come to the bittersweet picture this turned out to be. Another part I cant deny loving was the end. I wont say anything more about it, but it was a good end to the movie. And I'll leave it at that :)

I never realized that Charlize Theron was that attractive and the team with Penelope Cruz (forgive me any mistakes in spelling or names) was a match made in heaven. No complaints about Stuart Townsend either. ... This is beginning to sound a bit too positive but .. Yeah, well, I'm not going to look for negative stuff just to have it in.

In the end, this movie left me with a feeling I like. Not the typical heart-bleed I get from those Sugarbom Romantic flicks, and not the sad feeling a drama usually burdens me with either. A pleasant feeling. (pleasant doesn't mean happy mind you) It has me missing my girlfriend although she s only gone for the day. And gives me an ever stronger feeling that I love her than I usually have. This movie really did give me a Pleasant feeling! :) maybe bittersweet is the exact description for it.

Anyhow, i'm really glad I saw this one and it deserves a Nine. well, in my humble opinion it does :)

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31 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Romantic epic wannabe

6/10
Author: George Parker from Orange County, CA USA
27 January 2005

"Head in the Clouds", set in Paris (circa 1920's-1940's), is all about a trio of three characters; two women and one man. The centerpiece of the trio and the film is Theron as an independent, capricious, liberal and free spirited women who is in love with both her male and female part-time companions (Townsend & Cruz) who, in turn, both love her. The film follows the ebb and flow of the trio's relationships from their good times before the Spanish civil war through their bad times during WWII. An attempt at a sort of romantic epic, "Head in the Clouds" is wrought with staginess, corny dialogue, charming artificiality, and glorified melodrama. Not well received by the critics, this obvious film seems to be trying too hard while never quite ringing true. Should be an okay watch for romantics and sentimentalists. (B-)

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