The world's cruelty is confronted with the love of two different people who try to save mankind from poverty and war.The world's cruelty is confronted with the love of two different people who try to save mankind from poverty and war.The world's cruelty is confronted with the love of two different people who try to save mankind from poverty and war.
The humanitarian situation it shows is reality. The characters may be fictional, and they may not be representative of the typical relief worker - but they aren't supposed to be. This is a story of those particular two people, and how their feelings for each other grow out of the humanitarian work they are embroiled in. There's no separating the love story from the relief efforts, because she falls in love with him because of his commitment to those efforts. It's true that, at the end in Chechnya, she is more interested in him than in the local situation, but there are two very good reasons for this: One, unlike in Ethiopia and Cambodia she was only there to find him; she wasn't involved in some relief work there, so obviously his safety was foremost in her mind. And two, and more importantly, if she managed to save him, he could have continued being the man she fell in love with; continued his courageous commitment to fight death and suffering. So, I repeat, the love story and the humanitarian subject matter of this movie cannot been separated.
And the thing about her leaving her own family; fer crying out loud, it wasn't a happy family! Her cheating husband represented, both to Angelina's character and in a wider metaphorical sense, the numbing meaninglessness of a trivial, awkward and frequently loveless domestic situation, compared to the importance of saving lives and being in the company of infinitely more inspiring people.
(And what a refreshing change to see her husband - Linus Roach - in the kind of role that so many women portray in the usual Hollywood movie, being the colorless, passive backdrop to the male hero. Gratifying to see it reversed, for once.)
The ending of the movie was unexpected, and yet, in retrospect, it couldn't have ended any other way. If the movie were serious about its subject matter - the relief efforts *as well* as the love story -, it required an end of that sort. The surviving daughter keeps the hope for an eventual happy end alive.
I'm saddened that so many people did not "get" the movie. Many of the criticisms leveled against it are of scenes that were *meant* to evoke that response, and which are addressed later in the movie. There's a development going on; the characters are growing in the course of the story, and so is the movie. Many people apparently couldn't perceive that.
This was an extremely well-structured, rare, thought-provoking and sobering type of movie that I'm thankful could get made in this day and age (and I've just bought the DVD). But what a pity it met with such an insensitive public response.
9 out of 10.
- Jan 23, 2005