Monday, July 28, 2008


Javier Bardem, Benjamin Bratt, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Hector Elizondo

"How long would you wait for love?"

This is the movie adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's intriguingly entitled novel. I've never read the book due to the superfluous wordings of the novel, it would take me forever to finish it.

But now I wish I did.

So I can have comprehensive insights into the 3 main characters whose lives unfold in this movie. The film which ran at more than 2 hours actually had some potential. It could have been one of the most celebrated love stories ever told on the big screen. Yet unfortunately it failed to convey what I assume is clearly evident in the novel - a love so strong it endures several decades.

Instead in the film, Florentino Ariza the guy whose love for Fermina knows no bounds was portrayed as an obsessive (to the point of being creepy) fool. It wasn't romantic at all. Javier Bardem (as Florentino Ariza) no doubt played his character with all the artistic talent he could muster. Yet his portrayal was mostly comical. Other times, he was more like an petulant brat who couldn't get his wish instead of a man deeply in love. I couldn't grasp where this profound love for Fermina stemmed from. It seemed a bit absurd, frankly.

Juvenal Urbino (Benjamin Bratt) on the other hand was my favorite character. His love for Fermina was genuine. He was a well mannered doctor, part of an oligarchy. He was educated, refined and his stature in society was respected. Benjamin Bratt was believable and projected well on screen with his chiseled features. He delivered his dialogue eloquently. Yet they should have focused more on his work as a doctor and his important role in curbing the cholera epidemic during that period.

Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Fermina struck me as being too indifferent and aloof. Her attractive features did nothing to disguise her rather rigid acting. Most of the time she had this her blank gaze. It made me wonder what Florentino saw in her and why his love for her lasted that long. Such a pity, really. The role would have been better suited by someone more mature both in acting skills as well as physical features. The biggest mistake was to have her portray the role as a young teenager when clearly she was already in her 30s. Then you have Florentino's character performed by a younger actor. So there was no chemistry at all.

Having said all that, the cinematography was the saving grace of this movie. Great panoramic shots of lush countryside and the hustle and bustle of city life of a long forgotten era were a visual threat. The wardrobe was appropriately authentic and it depicted the correct period. A time of great turmoil and struggles in that part of the world.

Then there is the argument that perhaps it would have been better if the dialogue was entirely in Spanish. It could have helped a bit. But I guess that isn't the point. The script itself lacked depth! The characters were not well developed. It focused too much on the dilly dalliances of Florentino Ariza. It should have focused more on the background of how the romance developed.

Because no matter what language it was filmed in you cannot really capture the true essence of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. If I may say so myself, even though I haven't read a single book by this esteemed author.

2 popcorn buckets:

Katrina said...

for me, florentino wasn't inlove, he was obsessed.grabe eh. kahit sa novel, ang creepy.

D@phn3 L@ur@ said...

Yes Katrina I agree although I haven't read the book yet.


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