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In Colombia just after the Great War, an old man falls from a ladder; dying, he professes great love for his wife. After the funeral, a man calls on the widow - she dismisses him angrily. Flash back more than 50 years to the day Florentino Ariza, a telegraph boy, falls in love with Fermina Daza, the daughter of a mule trader. Ariza is persistent, writing her constantly, serenading, speaking poetically of love. Her father tries to keep them apart, and then, one day, she sees this love as an illusion. She's soon married to Urbino, a cultured physician, and for years, Ariza carries a torch, finding solace in the arms of women, loving none. After Urbino's fall, are Ariza's hopes delusional? Written by
The wedding of Dr. Juvenal Urbino and Fermina is a Modern Catholic Mass. Actually, during the late 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century a Traditional Latin Mass would had been conducted instead. See more »
Gabriel García Márquez' novel 'El amor en los tiempos del cólera' without the Magical Realism
For devotees of Gabriel García Márquez this unprofessional adaptation of his sweepingly romantic novel 'El amor en los tiempos del cólera' will sadly disappoint. Ronald Harwood's screenplay is a patchwork quilt that attempts to tell the story of longing for love in the manner of a novella/travelogue and despite the presence of some very fine actors in the key roles, director Mike Newell forgets to grasp the atmosphere that makes the original novel ethereal.
Young Florentino Ariza (Unax Ugalde) is a poor dreamer working as a telegraph operator and sees and falls in love with young Fermina Daza (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), daughter of a wealthy mule trader Lorenzo Daza (John Leguizamo) who upon hearing of the infatuation whisks Fermina away as Florentino pledges undying love and fidelity to Fermina. Florentino's mother Tránsito (Fernanda Montenegro), his uncle Leo (Hector Elizondo), and his friend Lotario Thugut (Liev Schreiber) comfort him and try to encourage his mating with another woman, but as Florentino matures (now Javier Bardem) even the long list of sexual encounters cannot turn his mind away from Fermina. Fermina marries Dr. Juvenal Urbino (Benjamin Bratt), travels widely, has his child and ultimately discovers her husband's infidelity. Florentino inherits his Uncle's shipping wealth, becoming one of the wealthy class that would have made him an eligible suitor for Fermina when he originally met her. But time changes everything except Florentino's commitment to Fermina and after the death of Dr. Urbino, he has the chance to realize his long awaited dream of being with the now 70+ year old lover.
The story spans fifty years in an unnamed city in Columbia (here Cartagena) and across the beauty of both South America and Europe. All of the basic elements are in place: the important missing piece is the magic of Gabriel García Márquez's prose. The huge cast is wasted on a script that is less than pedestrian: Javier Bardem tries to make Florentino a credible sympathetic character but is stuck in the mud of his lines; the brilliant Fernanda Montenegro attempts to paste together the pared down role of Florentino's mother; an unremarkable Giovanna Mezzogiorno fails to make Fermina worthy of Florentino's devotion; John Leguizamo is grossly and embarrassingly miscast; fine actors such as Unax Ugalde, Liev Schrieber, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ana Claudia Talancón, Hector Elizondo and others are little more than cardboard caricatures of the original creations.
One wonders how Newell and Harwood could have strayed so far from the mark of the potential that this beautiful novel promised as a cinematic transition. But what resulted from their collaboration is an overlong, boring, and sloppy version of the original story. Sad to see fine actors wasted in this film. Grady Harp
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