1938, Romania: at 70, a professor of language and philosophy, Dominic Matei, contemplates suicide: the love of his life is dead, and he remains unable to complete his life's work on the origins of language. Then, he's struck by lightning. After a slow recovery, he grows younger. He must now avoid Nazis, who want to study and experiment on him. Some years later, he meets a young woman who has her own passage through a lightning storm. Not only does Dominic find love again, but her new abilities hold the key to his research. Is the sweetness of life finally at hand? Written by
The first cut was close to three hours. It contains a sub-plot shot (also included in the novella) featuring the 1938 student radicals and Secret Police associating Dominic with them. The sub-plot was ultimately dropped upon suggestion by co-editor Walter Murch in order to keep the story more personal and reaching the intended two hour movie goal. See more »
During the 1950s period of the movie, Laura is transported across India in an Indian C-130 Hercules but the aeroplane has RAF markings. Also, Laura and Dominic hail a taxi whilst in India and are picked up by a London black cab rather than an Indian Ambassador cab. See more »
Romance without Love: Coppola's Obsessive Fixations
I've seen movies that purport to reveal great truths. Those movies fall flat because the revelations they make are not very revealing. This movie doesn't reveal truths of that sort but nonetheless shows the mindset and tribulations of people who (at least claim to) know great things.
There are HINTS of paranoia, loves lost, sacrifices made; strange paradoxes (body doubles, visual incongruities, time warps); and great "evils" (Hitler, mad scientists, Nuclear bombs). But none of these are resolved to my satisfaction.
So, the movie leaves one with this "final" thought: Though there are suggestions that somehow love (or some other sort of gender confusion / identity crisis) might resolve "everything"; nonetheless, life is morbid. We psychotically BELIEVE in love, genius, greatness, and eternal youth as we EXPERIENCE bloody-red roses, Hitler, hallucinations, and death.
Romantic? Maybe not. But a lesson in really GOOD movie making.
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