Love in the Time of Cholera (2007) Poster

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Amazing book. Wonderful story. Great film.
magspunky17 November 2007
Love in the Time of Cholera is one of my top five favorite books of all time. I was so excited when I heard it was being made into a movie. I'm one of those who approve of books being made into films, as long as they reasonably stick to the novel, because they bring a new perspective and life to the story.

However, I had read nothing but horrible things about this film before I went to see it. Now that I have, all I can say to all those who had only negative things to say is: HAVE YOU READ THE BOOK? "Love in the Time of Cholera" retains the same authenticity and tone on the screen as it did on the page. Yes, the characters are strange people, but that is what makes them memorable; we see parts of ourselves in them and parts of their culture that molded them into who they were. Bardem's Florentino is being called a "creepy" "stalker", but his actions in the novel are no different then those on the screen and reflect the passion and desperation of the world he lives in. Fermina is being called "cold" and "unlikable", but in the novel that's what she is; a haughty, proud woman who keeps her heart buried.

I know the number of bad reviews out there will undoubtedly outnumber the good ones. I don't care. I urge you to go see this film. The novel it follows is a classic and is one of the greatest love stories of all time. Its characters are not perfect, they are human. The scenery, costumes, and overall atmosphere of the film are authentic and moving. But at the heart of the images, there is a love story that is timeless, character traits that hit close to home, and a happy ending that it seems few of us find.

This is why we watch movies. It's not the entertainment, the celebrities, or the technological feats. It is the stories that make us think, that cause us to question the world we live in. We all didn't watch "To Kill a Mockingbird" for the comedy or memorable performances (though they were). We watched it for the time it portrayed, the people it involved, and the message that made us ponder what our world was, is, and is going to be.

"Love in the Time of Cholera" is a movie about us. The faults, successes, failures, and dreams we all have. It is worth anyone's time to see it at least once.
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Gabriel García Márquez' novel 'El amor en los tiempos del cólera' without the Magical Realism
gradyharp20 March 2008
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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Good Intentions, Bad Make-up
Agita16 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I never read the book, I never read a review, I had no idea what I was getting into when I went to a film festival screening of this film. It's not hard to imagine that the book must have been a romantic experience chronicling a man's love for a woman spanning decades, it's also not hard understanding why you would want to take this story and turn it into a movie.

What is hard to do is sit through it.

There is obviously a lot of hard work and craftsman ship on display. Whatever the budget was, most of it made it to the screen – which cannot be said for most productions. However, it's never clear what the tone is, is this a comedy or a drama? Films can have it both ways and win, but here it seems to be they shot it two ways and weren't sure which way to go…so they did both. Bardem's character, Florentino, seems to go between being Chaplin and Norman Bates with his bowler's cap & comedic reactions on the one hand and his obsession with his crazy mother who arranges trysts for him on the other. His character at times seems to be brilliant and charming, and at others borderline mentally retarded.

Complicating matters here, Florentino is played by two actors, Unax Ugalde as a teen and Bardem later in life. The choice to swap out the Ugalde for Bardem comes at a strange point in the story, it's when Fermina, the love interest, has not seen him in sometime. This might sound like the perfect point to swap out, but with Fermina played by the beautiful Giovanna Mezzogiorno though most of the film, it's confusing when Bardem steps in now as Florentino. It is here that the Fermina dumps Florentino with really no explanation, but most will feel for her decision as in a span of time that has not touched her...he as aged horrifically! And on top of that, this old man before her seems to be firing on a few lost cylinders. Is this a boy in love, or a psychotic about to rampage? You be the judge. Stalker.

For his time on screen as Florentino, Ugalde is saddled with a prosthetic nose hoisted upon him to resemble Bardem. This is a HUGE mistake, as is, frankly ALL the make-up in this film which could single handedly be the death blow to the film because it is uniformly so bad that for most of the presentation you simply cannot take your eyes off of it. That fake nose, that fake beard, and Mezzogiorno in her 70's she doesn't look a day over 30.

As mentioned, I did not read the book, but it seems the adaptation here may be too faithful, jamming in every aspect of the book. Part of what makes an adaptation difficult to pull off is the knowledge of what to leave out, and in some cases what to add! Here you're treated to so much information, so many locations (and lots of frighteningly bad make-up) the "romance" is left to the wolves.

When Florentino and Fermina finally do get together in the end of the film, it's a relief, not to see them together, but to think the film will be over soon...but it's NOT. It goes on as now he must win her over! This film is filled with good intentions...and we know where that will sometimes get you.

Bardem is lucky NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN opens this week, so anyone who caught this Colombian train wreck can get the bad taste out of their mouth.
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Superbad in the Time of Cholera
Half_the_Audience18 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The greatest challenge for filmmakers of period pieces is to infuse the work with some degree of relevance to modern culture. Perhaps in order to feed the current appetite for anti-hero male fantasies of social revenge and success, Mike Newell has managed to flesh out the sexual journey of it's retro-nerd protagonist, replete with the popular contagion of entitlement and now-expected rewards of conquest.

Gabriel García Márquez' 1985 novel "Love in the Time of Cholera" remains a testament to Romance as Illusion, and Love as a higher calling to those with the maturity and understanding of humanity to appreciate it. However, in Newell's ambitious adaptation, save for the characters aging fifty-odd years, there is neither much maturity nor understanding of humanity.

When the neophyte romantic Florentino Ariza (Unax Ugalde) spies the young Fermina (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) promenading through the plaza one day, he is forever smitten. Captivated by her beauty, (a mystery due to the irredeemable casting blunder), he pledges to remain a virgin until they can be together. After a heated exchange of letters, a sweet minstrel stroll in her courtyard, and a long-distance barrage of telegraphed yearnings, Fermina harshly rejects him citing the temporary insanity of youth. At this point all passion exits the film for good.

Fermina 's father (John Leguizamo, who inexplicably transports Queens gang-tough shtick to 19th century Columbia) manages to broker his daughter to Juvenal Urbino, a successful doctor (Benjamin Bratt) after she recovers nicely from a false bout of cholera. The doctor too, you see, is so taken with his patient's beauty he must have her for his own. Maybe there is more in the water down there than cholera-- something that addles the senses of men. The lovely Catalina Sandino Moreno as one of Fermina's countryside ladies-in-waiting outshines Fermina in every scene they share. You wonder why the men aren't lining up to place a bid on her.

Fast forward to an older Florentino (now played by Javier Bardem) using sex with women, lots of women, to alleviate the pain of his separation from Fermina. His pain endures for more than fifty years. Did I mention he alleviates his pain with lots and lots of women? Pain never looked so good.

Part drama, part comedy, there is a curious tone to this movie: it's difficult to tell where the laughs were intended. At first what seems like a camp-romp, purposely anachronistic and self-reflexive, the movie confounds when it appears that the actors are playing it for real. Due to the nerdy fecklessness of the young Florentino, we're willing to overlook some of the earlier stilted moments. Yet there is some dialogue so unfortunate (supposedly lifted verbatim from the rumination-heavy novel), that it's doubtful it could be uttered out loud in any century with a straight face.

Bardem, one of a handful of actors who can elicit our investment in his character no matter how despicable and self-serving his actions, carries the film. (Ugalde, who plays the younger Florentino as a puppy dog eyed Romeo, who looks like he could be Bardem's younger brother, deftly sets up the delusional character's obsessive nature that is handed off like a baton for Bardem to carry the rest of his days.) Giovanna Mezzogiorno on the other hand, must age from late teens to her seventies, and she does so less convincingly. The filmmakers evidently didn't trust that audiences could overlook the horror of an older actress to take us from maturity on.

Bratt must make the transformation across the years as well, but the three of them seem to decompose at different rates, making for a few jarring scenes. Some critics have lauded the make-up crew's accomplishments. Frankly, the pancake looks as though it's in danger of sliding from faces in the jungle heat. Bardem, alone here in the ability to age in voice, posture, tempo and demeanor, in addition to the cosmetics, helps provide a signpost as to where we are in the life cycle-- just in case Florentino's ever-growing list of sexual conquests doesn't mark the time clearly enough.

What's lacking most in the script by Ronald Harwood (so adept with his exquisite "Diving Bell and the Butterfly") is a thriving spirit, a transcendence, an irony. The movie is simply a superficial accrual of loathing: Florentino's of society, of Love, of the fate that denies him earthly happiness and which spurs his mission to bed more than 600 women in order to drive out the demon of Fermina that possesses him; Fermina's of herself as her body has the audacity to age, of her fading beauty, and of her husband's wandering eye. (Such is the fate of women whose sense of self-worth relies solely on their appearance.) Even at seventy, she still can't bear to make love with the lights on. You'd hope that she would grow comfortable in her own skin at some point in her life. Lucky for her, decrepit old Florentino doesn't see her as she really is-- he's still imagining her as a youthful sprite from a bygone time.

The novel is a rich examination of love in its many incarnations with deeper themes underscoring how Romantic Love can disease the soul just as the dreaded cholera ravaged humankind. This adaptation is plagued with the endemic and dated shallowness of a tele-novela steeped in the tradition of patriarchal virulence disguised as drama and conflict. Interesting how Newell takes the book's passionate struggle of a male masochist trying to reconcile his idealism, and mutates it into an Apatow-styled adventure of a virginal lovesick loser turned lothario, who still gets the girl in the end.

Uninspired camera work and sloppy transitions sadly waste the exotic locations. For all the sumptuous scenery and meticulous period set design, the movie has the feel of a "Lifetime Television for Women" M.O.W. Maybe there's a new cable network I don't know about: "Mid-Lifetime Television for Men" that this project can kick off.
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Marquez Fans Will Not Be Disappointed
VicenteVicuna17 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The film, composed by all the talents making it, does a terrific job of capturing the essence of the book. Fantastic work! Congratulations to all! As much as I believe that cinema has the potential to be the most powerful and greatest art, it can only come very close to greatness when the job is an adaptation of the most magnificent novel ever written. The same is true when trying to adapt Shakespeare or convey the power of any genius' work like in films about van Gogh, Pollock, Zola, etc.

From my point of view, I felt that the challenge in adapting the book was, for the most part, one of ellipsis, i.e. what do you keep and what do you remove? The scenes and lines of dialogue in the film taken directly from the book create a tapestry of brilliant surgery, if not "the perfect essence" of the book, certainly a brilliant essence or cinematic interpretation.

But unfortunately for me, one who has been tortured for twenty years by the sting of the book's many poetic details and minutia, it is hard not to gasp at what is missing. Before viewing the film, I prepared myself for a 138 minute distillation of an incredibly rich and detailed prose manuscript of 348 pages. I thought then, and I realize now, that it would take a ten or twelve hour filmed version of the book to sate my twenty-year damaged psyche, but I am not so deranged as to hold it against a two hour film adaptation of the masterwork. The film stands by itself. It is a magnificent work. Maybe it couldn't be better. It just doesn't capture all of Marquez. It can't. An American audience, even an educated, worldly one, is still formed and informed by our Puritan society. People don't make movies in Hollywood about coveting another man's wife, dumping your fourteen year old lover (resulting in her suicide) to pursue the woman you really love, and so on, and so on... The film had to make comprises to get an 'R' rating and not cause our repressed and fearful media, and good white Christian core to flip out. Compromise drives Hollywood. Compromise drives the business of movies. Compromise does not play a role in world of Marquez's characters.

I believe and hope that, very soon, the film and book will become organically linked as closely as any film and book can be. It may even create a bond as strong as the Puzo/ Godfather/Coppola connection. I certainly hope so. It could create an artistic and cultural advance which is so vital for humankind, and becoming more difficult to achieve in an impossible-to-believe world of re-emerging fundamentalists who are hell-bent on pummeling us all back into the stone age.

I applaud all of principals who made this wonderful movie.


Viewers of "Love in the Time of Cholera" will gain more insight into what love really means.
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Not just bad, but painful
Jey04717 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
If I had to choose between cholera and sitting through this movie again, I'd choose cholera, it's far less painful. While the cinematography is great and the soundtrack beautiful, the rest of the movie is the stellar opposite.

The story fails to be romantic in any way. The lead actress has no chemistry with any of the actors she's supposed to be attracted to, and they don't have much chemistry with her either. There are cameos galore, but with no real purpose, except maybe that the actors wanted their names on the the cast list for what they hoped would be as lauded a movie as was the book on which it was based.

While the lead actress plays the same role throughout the movie, even though she doesn't pass as a teenager, much less as a 72 year old woman, even with extensive make-up, the lead male role is inexplicably split between two actors - the later being Bardem who, because of the excessive make-up and blush applied to him is supposed to pass as a 20 year old, more so than the 29 year old actor who had played the character in his teens. This reveals another major problem of this film, all the actors always have on too much make-up, even when it is not needed, and this is particularly distracting when you see a close-up on the actors on the big screen of a theatre, and all you see is foundation and blush. The actors seem to age at different rates, and with no dates or indication of how much time has passed between scenes, it all becomes very difficult to follow, particularly when other characters, such as Bardem's character's mother, don't age at all, they're just fortunate enough to become senile.

Most of the acting is on par with a bad telenovela, and even in the few cases where the actors give good performances, such as Hector Elizondo, there's no depth to the character. At one point you're lead to believe that his character has died and that Bardem's character has taken over the business, only to have him pop up again half an hour later to announce that he's retiring. Most of the actors muddle through strained accents, none of which match up, and the most hilariously out of place is John Leguizamo, who plays his character as if he's the lovechild of his characters from Moulin Rouge and Spawn, but with a heavy New York accent this time.

There's no sense of love between any of the characters, not even familial love between the uncle and nephew, as the uncle is quick to accuse his nephew of coming to see him only because he wants something. As far as romantic love, the lead actress doesn't seem to love Bardem's character at all, let alone her husband. And Bardem's character just comes off as a strange, disturbing stalker, who so "loves" and is committed to the woman he pursues, that he sleeps with any woman that walks by, including his 16 year old niece (or some other relative). None of the lead characters are in the least bit even likable, so it's difficult to feel any empathy for anything they're supposed to be feeling or going through.

I admit, there are a few laughs in this film, unfortunately, most of them don't seem to be intentional. In the end, they hardly make up for having to sit through more than two hours of characters you don't really care about. I found myself envying the characters that died in the film - at least they didn't have to stay for the end.
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Loved the Book
travelintom14 November 2007
Quick, before the general release on Friday change the silent movie line back to "My God, this is longer than sorrow". What did she mumble instead, was it "interminable"? Why was that wonderful line changed?

I so loved the book, I cannot get an unbiased grip on the movie. My mind elaborated it favorably but with simultaneous disappointment over deviations like the "sorrow" line. "Forever" worked better in the book as the boat was ordered to return upstream. I do wish it had closed with the "ripple" video that is on the internet.

The film touched too many threads while missing the book's soul, like trying to read Fermina's heart on her tongue. Maybe it isn't possible for a movie to do justice to any masterpiece but Florentino's long-standing relationships with the widows are as important as the "body count".

Young Fermina was too old, as was America. I would have cast a 15-year-old as the young Fermina and have had her reappear as America with died hair or similar artifice. I cannot forgive the script for ignoring the perversion and her suicide. I would have rather America had been entirely written out.

Bardem was the perfect Florentino. Fernanda Montenegro and Hector Elizondo gave terrific performances. Marcela Mar is such a heart-throb I nearly forgive her for being twice her age. Cartagena was underplayed. The Shakira soundtrack was ideal.

I'll reluctantly recommend the movie but won't shake peoples' shoulders as I do when I tell them that they must read the book.
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Love in the time of the Cholera
kevin_salas18 May 2008
The screenplay writer took much pains to try and conserve the essential meaning behind Garcia Marquez's writing, but failed to capture the sentiment behind each scene. Another disappointment was directors interpretation of Dr. Urbino Juvenal character, played by Benjamin Bratt. He seems like a soulless social clown who does not know anything about his surroundings or of the social society of which he is apart of. The director's portrayal of Ariza and Daza's relationship as one of a rekindled romance during the latter part of the film, is incorrect as i believe that Marquez' intention was to show that two characters towards the end of their lives who had finally found a connection because they had suffered similar circumstances that had left both characters empty. Although it is true that most novels fail to capture the meanings behind such sentiment, this was at most a mediocre attempt. Out of a possible 10 i have to give it a 4, only because a writer as masterful as Marquez should not be misinterpreted in this way.
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nonsequitur24710 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I must admit, I was a bit disappointed. However, I knew the story that was the basis for this film, and being well aware of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's acclaim, I expected nothing short of a masterpiece. The cinematography was decent; the acting, good. My main problem was the direction and the writing.

I felt that this story was beautiful in theory: man falls in love, woman spurns him, he continues to love her for 50+ years while finding physical consolation in 600+ women the mean time; and when he finally wins her over when she's widowed and in their mid-seventies, so overtaken by age that they're heartbreaking to see, they consummate their love on a boat. Does that sound like an insensitive capsule summary? Well, that's what I felt this film did to the story.

I could tell it was going for a sweeping love epic of a serious nature, trying remind its audience what love really is and how long it can last when true. Yet, mostly, I felt that the poor man was somewhat pathetic, that his love was forced and false, to a degree, and the woman he loved was silly and backbone-less. My rational side kept reminding me that it's a story, that there are other things that must be taken into account - differences in class, differences in family situations, the setting (early 20th century Colombia) - but emotionally, all I could see were two very silly, selfish people. I feel like this is a result of the way it was directed, and perhaps edited as well. The tone was off.

Aside from that, the film was beautiful--breathtaking shots of Colombia. If you can get past the lacking character portrayals and simply let the story move you, you'll definitely like it.
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A Successful Translation of the Book
idavem17 November 2007
I was primed to enjoy the film because some events in the book dovetail with my life. I wanted to see how it would be translated to film. I wasn't disappointed.

An enormous amount of the book was inside the film. Many of the comedic and tragic scenes in Garcia's book were included, well-captured by the dialog. The cinematography was a superb visual equivalent to the author's luminously written depictions of a fairytale world.

If I'd not read the book first, and if I didn't find some elements of my own life inside the book, I'm not sure what I would have made of the film. I can only base my review on the fact that I've read the book, and that the makers of the film obviously did their best to be as truthful to the book as possible. The core belief of the film as well as the book - that love, in various forms, can last a lifetime - is true.
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The eternal problem:can a movie catch the essence of the book
summersunsetdreamer19 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
When you read a book,you want to see the movie so you can compare your vision of the characters/story,with that of someone's else. When you see the movie ,you want to read the book so you can discover the details that a movie can't include. In both situations,you like/dislike the movie(you wished that you were the producer)or the book(the movie was better or,the movie doesn't come near the book).

This movie was an example of how not to do a movie based on a such powerful story. I know it's hard to catch 50 years,4 month and 9 week in just 2 hours,BUT,at least,keep the original language there,and do not place someone who's 35 years to play a 15 year old girl.why?because,well,she's 35... you can give the role to a 25 year old g,that could work. Next,don't leave the girl,but change the boy. change them both,or don't change them at all.

Javier Bardem was a good choice for Ariza,also the kid was good,but...2 different people,in such a short time?! Javier was a good choice in both the looks and the spirit.

Benjamin Bratt also a good choice(both ways).

Giovanna Mezzogiorno:not a good choice for Fermina. I wish I had seen in Fermina a kind of Dona St. Columb(not the face,the spirit:a free spirit,),but not only did she acted weird,but she acted like she didn't believe in her character. I know that the central character might be Ariza,because of the way he didn't live for himself,but for that lost love,that actually,he didn't have it in the first place(kind of a sick obsession),but Fermina had a place there too.

Then,the father of Fermina,he looked like her husband. Not that fat and didn't had the look of an alcoholic .

Hildebranda,also,a powerful character in the book,a good choice(look and act)in the movie. Transito too.

The language:why not leave Spanish? because of 2-3 people there speaking English? that was a minus too,that i didn't understood in many movies:if the country where the action is placed is not native English(french,Italian,not Chinese because i really don't understand that,but,OK,Chinese too,and many other),and ,beside this,the actors have the accent of that language,why torture them and the audience??

And,the last not least. Where were the people dying/dead of/by cholera? I mean,the book is titled Love in the Time of Cholera,but where were they in the movie?? As i read the book,i could smell the dead bodies floating in the dirty water and in the city,i could smell the creek as it's stink rises and fill the city,i can feel the heat of that city,leaving me no air to breath(i do have that imagination when it comes to visual/olfactory images in books).Here,only the sweat on the faces ,but that didn't convince me.

Only some movies did catch the essence of a book(and yes,i mean Wuthering Heights,Gone with the wind,Frenchman's creek with Joan Fontaine and LOTR) I think there might be some movies there,i didn't see them all,and i apologize if i didn't mention your favorites.

(sorry for the possible mistakes,not a native English here)
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The music and the scenery are outstanding ...
Franco-2329 December 2007
We all know the book is fantastic, but since the beginning I thought it was going to be difficult to capture its magic in a film, so I went to see it without too high expectations. There were some details that I found great, for example the music, the scenery, the colors etc. BUT I think the feeling of the story couldn't be reached nor transmitted at all, and the acting was below average. To me, the characters at the film were not interesting at all -anything could have been changed from the book and I wouldn't have cared- they were simply "other people". Shakira's (Colombian singer) songs with amazing tropical shots at the background are the best this film has to offer.
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Fifty years of solitude
jotix10026 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Some novels, such as "Love in the Time of Cholera", by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, should be allowed to stay in the written page. As has been the case with other attempts to capture the author's work for the screen, most, alas, have ended in failure. One can question the people behind this project about what they had in mind. A work of this magnitude certainly deserved better than this bland account by Ronald Harwood, a man that has done better, and by the director, Mike Newell. Missing is the poetry, and magic, of the book and most of what is not being shown on the screen.

Evidently, as usually is the case with these ambitious projects, there are a lot of things that get in the way. First, and foremost, trying to bring together such a large, mostly Spanish speaking cast to play the various characters, needs a surer hand and clear vision of how to translate this novel to cinematic terms and still bring out the essence of the story. This work, supposedly has been read by more than sixty million readers, so to make a mediocre adaptation of it, should have been enough to have left it alone.

The basic problem lies with the way Florentino Ariza has been conceived. As played by Mr. Bardem, in one of his less effective performances in a while, it robs the character his voice and the way one conceived it in one's mind. We are constantly reminded this Florentino is Javier Bardem, at all times, and not the man who longingly aches for Fermina most of his life. We are watching the actor going through some dialog, period. On the other hand, Mr. Bardem is only an actor, and the reading he gives should have been guided better. Just watch him under the Coen brothers' clear vision in "No Country for Old Men".

The Fermina of Giovanna Mezzogiorno is also a problem in our all overall enjoyment of the picture. An excellent actress, she is bogged down by a script that doesn't add much to her talent. John Leguizamo is totally miscast as Fermina's father, as is Fernanda Montenegro, a great actress who doesn't fare well at all here.

The cinematography by Alfonso Beato is about one of the the best things in the film. Alfonso Beato's music doesn't add much drama to the whole picture either.

For pure enjoyment pick up the original novel and have a great time with the magic world Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote, in one of his most memorable works.
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McCheesy's take on "Love in the Time of Cholera"
mr_popcorn5 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This film had potential but was easily destroyed by the poor concept and bad execution. The make-up was pathetic, the directing was just average, it seemed like it was done by an amateur filmmaker who just graduated film school. I have problems with the language they spoke. Its supposed to be in Colombia where people speaks Spanish, not choppy and unpleasant English. The plot of the film really did have potential but it was butchered by the people who was behind it. It ended up just like those generic love stories that knows no borders.

But on the other hand, at least the lush visuals and colorful landscapes at least upped the films ante even for a little bit. It felt like you are just watching the film because of the rich texture of the landscape, never minding the unfolding plot.

Javier Bardem loses his mop top bowl cut and takes on a charming young man of 20th century Colombia. His performance is quite okay but his chop socky accent is just too painful to hear. Female lead Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Benjamin Bratt were just okay.

"Cholera" is an okay film, I enjoyed the rich background but the make-up was just pathetic. 5
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Best film of the year, Oscar worthy
ltommyiv30 October 2007
I caught a screening of this film in San Diego and I was blown away. I have never been so filled with emotion during a film, ever. I cried, laughed and my heart ached at times. I hope this movie wins the Oscar! The book is my favorite book of all time and I was so scared to see the film as I thought I would be disappointed, but I was not at all. I thought the book and the movie were so much a like and the movie didn't lose anything that the book had. Marquez is one of the best writers in the world, and Ronald Harwood took his words and turned them into magic. Everyone who has read the book or anyone who has ever been in love should see this movie the day it comes out!
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Didn't like it
johnny-0828 December 2007
"Love in the time of cholera" is a true classic of Nobel prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. Movie "Love in the time of cholera" of director Mike Newell is not and will never be a film classic. Newell wanted to stay true to the book but he does not realize that he had to make a movie interesting to those who never read the book and to those who already read the book. I never read this book and I found this film boring and long and truly bad acted from some actors. To those who read the book maybe they can say some positive things about this movie.

Casting director of this movie made few big mistakes. Benjamin Bratt is always the same, Giovanna Mezzogiorno acted terrible and Javier Bardem tried but couldn't carry this movie on his back. Second thing that bothered me is that the whole movie was made in English. I would prefer Spanish instead and not English with bad accent (at the same time we can hear servants speaking Spanish but not our main characters!!).

There are some beautiful scenes of countryside and the songs of Shakira aren't bad but this movie lacks of magic. Magic that probably book has, so this became movie that you can easily miss and not regret after.
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Was this comedy or drama?
JaneSayz26 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
From the opening scene, I thought it was some kind of spoof, that the camera would pull back and we would actually have been watching a play within a play kind of thing. I was at first taken by the terrible hair and makeup done on the lead actress to make her look elderly. I even asked my friend sitting with me "what is it that I'm not buying in this first scene?" To which she replied, "probably making young people look old badly." My thoughts exactly.

Much of the other 6 people in the theater must have agreed with us as people actually began laughing out loud. The movie then seemed to take a bizarre turn towards becoming a soap opera or more appropriately a "telenovela." Complete with the cliché "over the shoulder" shots, dramatic pauses and some over acting for good measure.

It was almost as if all the the actors were in separate movies. Giovanna was in a silent movie, sort of a Greta Garbo, "I'm not going to show any emotion" kind of way and on top of that had zero warmth to her character. Then John Leguzamo was full on Moulon Rouge camp. The tone changed scene to scene. Sometimes it was big and sometimes it seemed random and pointless with nothing going on. BTW, what was Unax's choice there in eating the flowers? "I'm so in love I'll just eat some flowers"? I can see the directors notes now "bigger, do it bigger, indicate if you have to." Also, I never saw ANY chemistry between Javier and Giovanna in the first entire half off the movie. I kept thinking, "I agree with the other characters in the movie, he should just get over her. There are so many better options, like 736 of them!" She was like "I love you and miss you" and then "I hate you, stay away from me I never want to see your face again." It felt like a lot of the justification for that was missing. Or maybe she was psycho.

Finally and I'm sorry, but she just did not have the beauty to have all these men fighting over her and wasting their lives for her. She looked 30 from day one, when I suppose she was suppose to be 13 and when she was losing her "virginity" with Benjamin Bratt, it was so unbelievable that people were laughing. It was like watching a modern day 40 year old women say "I have never been touched before, it is scary to me." No thanks.

I can see where the story was suppose to be really moving and beautiful. Javiar did a nice job. I like Benjamin Bratt too although at one point I could see the shiny glue attaching his beard. How does the director miss so many of these things? I suppose because he was busy deciding if it was a comedy or an epic drama...or maybe some bizarre gray area in between.
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Such a disappointment...
bambeee27 March 2008
I read the book few years ago and absolutely loved it! It is one of my favourite books ever so it goes without saying I couldn't wait to see the film! Well, it was the biggest disappointment ever! The actors were awful(how could THAT Fermina look the same at the age of 15 and 50 something?), but the main issue here I reckon it is the fact that there was no need to fit the whole story in just one film. It could have been adapted and it would have worked much better without having to rush the story just to make it to the end of the novel. Those who haven't read the book will find the film boring and will see what I mean by 'rushing the story'. It just doesn't make much sense... In addition, what's the point in having actors of different nationalities speaking all with different English accents? I think it would have worked much better if it was in Spanish! In general, and sadly, I don't think there is anything good to say about the film... Such a good novel deserves a better production on the big screen!
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how to render a classic novel comical
nancyberte1 December 2007
Entertaining only in that the landscape was visually beautiful and, sadly, that it presented the opportunity for friends to laugh and rip the movie apart afterward. It's a lesson in how to take a classic novel with dark moments and psychology and render it an empty shell to the point of making it more akin to a comic strip of the novel than a heartfelt cinematic interpretation. Casting was unfortunate, although I don't know how much to blame on the actors as opposed to the concept and execution of the movie. Make-up was pathetic. But go see it anyway and then read the book - or visa versa - just for the entertainment value. Laughter is good for the soul.
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Eggs, Planting
tedg20 October 2008
I think it is possible to make a film that has this book's richnesses, story, metaphors and style. But it would have to depart as much from ordinary Masterpiece TeeVee as this cleaves to it.

The book, if you do not know it, relies on an already deep tradition of Spanish-speaking writers that brings metaphor to life by mixing illusion and reality. This is a third generation writer in this tradition, and he counts on you knowing the previous generations so that you can appreciate the subtle craft in placing both in a "reality."

The centerpiece of course is how to fabricate a perfect love, suspend it in earnest imagination and make it real through writing. That last bit is the third generation bit, the idea that the writing of illusion makes it real. Students of narrative folding as a device to engage will recognize this trick as one designed to put the reader in the story. Everyone in the story is a "reader" of what Florentino writes. His passion in writing is immediately accessible to every other woman he meets and allows him to enter 622 of them.

That number of course is the number of menstrual cycles he waits for his love while engaged in maintaining the passion. This links to one of the two main metaphors, also partly illusory: the boats on the river. The other metaphor is love as a disease and the triangle established by the doctor dedicated to eradicate it. The structure is rather clinical, made attractive by the same passion in its writer as the writer character has. It matters that it is written in Spanish, a language that allows a connected flow of phrases and a tradition that assumes romantic fever.

I think Ruiz could have done this.

Newell has no idea what to do with this, and is left with simply trying lush shots and reading passionate text.

Here's an indication of his general ignorance: for practical commercial reasons the language must be English. But instead of having his characters speak English naturally and with passion, he has them adopt an accent which we will recognize as Hispanic speaking English as a second language. This is characterized by hypervigilance to the consonants separating words where the primary language centers of the brain are telling the speaker that they should flow with sonances. An astute listener (and if you are not, you do not deserve to have passion in reading) will know people with this, whose words flow in their mind, but become discrete pebbles in the mouth, breaking the flow of liquid life this whole story exploits.

Here's an indication of his cinematic ignorance: It matters what is shown, how and in what way, for how long and in what order. He films this as if every element that plays a role in the plot deserves equal weight. Thus, if we have a telegraph key that does something, or a boat people are on, or a ladder that slips, why we see those. All exist with equal weight. All are shown with the same reality and perspective. All have the same frame. But this manner of narrative is all about color and weight, all about the rhythms of love in reality. Some things should be sharp, magnetic, bright. Others foggy or not even touched. Some seemingly full and sensual but allowed to be discovered not so in a way that never informs the next lust.

Its all about rivers and inconsistent flows. All the sex is denoted by displayed breasts. This again is a commercial necessity, but the material is vaginal in focus. Such intense mysteries must always be. All of the mechanics of the story begin and end there, even in mention of the food.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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Painful to watch, indeed!
divertente719 November 2007
Heard so much about the book, I thought I'd be watching a mediocre movie, at the very least. This is, after all, one of the most talked about literary works of our time. The movie was atrocious! Casting was awful. Make up was down-right distracting. And the whole tone of the movie was plain LAUGHABLE! It was cartoon-ish, ill-conceived and even the acting was surprisingly disappointing. Javier Bardem's a first-rate actor. The entire time you watch a movie you're aware that's Javier Bardem playing the role of Florentino. You never, for one second, think that's just Florentino, on the screen. And don't get me started about how the accents complemented the dialogue. It was like you were watching a really bad high school play. The actors' delivery of their lines, with bad, thick Spanish accents, made it impossible to believe anything they said. All you could think was, "These are actors acting". Fernanda Montenegro, in the role of Florentino's mother, delivers what is probably the only engaging performance in the whole movie. Don't even wait till it comes out on DVD! Renting it/Netflixing it would still be a waste. Just go straight to the book, instead.
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Loved the book, couldn't stand the film
anneitaanddavid7 February 2009
We had to stop watching after about an hour because we couldn't stand the wooden action and the contrived set piece scenes. Fermina's father was like something out of panto. The whole thing was ridiculous, and really isn't worth 10 lines, so I am at a loss as to how to fill the space up to the minimum. What about: the actors' ages were all wrong - the father looks about 30 in the opening scenes, the elderly Fermina, who is about 68-70, looks about 45 (if that), and Florentino's mother looks as if she was about 55 when he was born. Florentino ages about 30 years from Unax Ubalde to Xavier Bardem, while Fermina ages about a month in the same time. Thank goodness, that's 10 lines. Can I stop now?
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Weak,very weak
Argemaluco18 January 2008
I'm not a fan of the book Love in the Time of Cholera,but I appreciate the detailed story and the easy evoking of emotions.But,the adaptation of that book for the big screen,lacks of that two important elements.First of all,in the movie everything happens very fast and it has not got a good development of characters.Also,this film did not provoke me even one emotion.The performances are,mostly,pathetic.Javier Bardem is a brilliant actor but his performance in here is laughable.But,the worst performance of this movie is made by John Leguizamo.In movies like Summer of Sam and Crónicas,he brought excellent performances but,here,his performance is very exaggerated and all his scenes provoked me unintentional laughs.One of the few good elements in this movie is the spectacular cinematography.Love in the Time of Cholera is a weak adaptation which bored me pretty much.This movie gets a 5 out of 10 only for the cinematography.
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Huge problems, however I guarantee you will enjoy it!
orozcosamuel130 June 2008
Well, first of all I truly enjoyed the movie. Even though it is not the best movie ever I still recommend to everyone. It is still a beautiful story which I think you would enjoy if you haven't read the book, and for those of you who have, it is very interesting to see how the director tries to capture Marquez's book in a movie.

The movie however has really big problems, the most important one, which is the main reason why I didn't think much of this movie is that it is in English. Its a huge mistake because all the language used in the book (which is beautiful) is just LOST, therefore the movie automatically looses most of its potential. Even worse than making the movie in English is making the main dialogs in English and the background dialogs in Spanish, it just doesn't make any sense. Its ridiculous. Finally, Giovanna Mezzogiorno's acting is not very good.

I have seen many comments and reviews that agree with what I just said; but as I said before, even if it isn't a really good film I still recommend it. You should see the movie, but most importantly, READ the book!!!
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This Movie is a big joke - Don't waste your time
Mannypl6617 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film on it's opening day, I was curious as to what kind of a deep love story it was but after the ending I raced out of the movie theater very upset and disappointed. First of all this is not a romantic film period, this movie is a comedic stalker flick with no real story. There was no real bond to develop between the characters that made them have any feelings for each other. A young and delusional Florentino sees a pretty face and a nice body and thinks that he's in love when he's really in lust. She rejects him shortly after and whether than just moving on he decides to waste 50 years of his life while Femina has moved on with her life and married.

The characters of Florentino and Femina barely knew each other and throughout most of the film he spends his time writing poetry and having sex with other women. This film is degrading and unrealistic in different ways, Florentino's character was empty and completely delusional about the concept of love. The truth is that in any good love story you see two people begin to grow a friendship and that friendship grows into intimacy and the intimacy grows into love, it is a mutual feeling between two people that turns into a strong bond, and the characters continue to grow and love each other throughout the film and their love is so strong that they begin to overcome many obstacles but none of the elements that I just mentioned were in the film. In the beginning they start exchanging love notes but Femina later realizes that it was just a phase. Florentino's character could've moved on and married a good woman, there's plenty of fish in the sea and there will never be a shortage of women. The two characters did not love each other, Femina did not love Florentino, she rejected him to pursue a life of stability and security and married a doctor and started a family and although they were at a rough start she began to love the doctor while Florentino wastes 50 years of his life in a delusional dream world of senseless poetry and sexual encounters all at the expense of a married woman who did not love him - and this is what you call a love story ?

The fact of the matter is that there is no time table on love, it's not about waiting for 50 years, 5 years or even 100 years. Love has no time table, loves comes from the heart and it is a mutual bond between two people. In all honesty if you really want to see good love stories I highly recommend the Notebook (starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel Mc Adams) and the Holiday (With Jude Law and Cameron Diaz) but this is a terrible and degrading film and sends out the wrong message to the audience and if you're thinking about seeing this film I strongly urge and advise you to reconsider.
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