Monday, June 30, 2008

Love in the Time of Cholera (Movie Review)

I've never watched the film based on a book so soon after reading the book itself — I did it intentionally this time around, as I figured that meant I'd be better able to retain the book rather than have the film tarnish my memory.

And while I didn't think this 2007 adaptation was awful — as countless critics have suggested — I agree with the majority that this book may very well be unfilmable. But unlike those Marquez sycophants out there, I empathize a bit more with the director in his plight: he actually did an OK job capturing the highlights of the plot, but in order to do that you have to drop all of the fluff in-between, and it's that fluff that actually contains the spark of Marquez's work. Without it, you're left with a Cliff Notes type of film — the basic elements devoid of any real spirit.

What you're left with in the film, then, are all of those things that almost made the book a disaster for me: unrealistic characters and scenes that border on comical (and are most likely even intended in jest) but just don't fit in with the characters — or even the overall tone of the work.

I also resented the director's main breach from the novel (really the only one worth noting, since it is otherwise true to the action): he's made this into a love story, and all but forgotten the irony of said "love." And it was this irony that made the book for me.

Or perhaps that's just me... I didn't read Love in the Time of Cholera as a love story that took place during an era whereby cholera was ravaging the planet; rather, I walked away thinking it was a story about life, whereby love (in all its forms) is as dangerous a threat as the plague itself.

Oh, wait, there's one more thing: Javier Bardem does a sufficient job as Florentino Ariza, with one big problem: Bardem is, by his very nature, masculine, whereas Florentino is described in effeminate terms.... smaller in stature, pristine, etc. (hence all of the rumors questioning his sexuality). So while Bardem did an OK job acting the part, he didn't all resemble it.



ds said...

you watch a lot of movies.

Franki said...

Marquez's magical realism is a little easier to swallow in book form, in my opinion. I wanted to like this film, but frankly, I can't even really remember it.