Head In The Clouds (2004)

JOHN DUIGAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

United Kingdom/Canada, 2004.  , , , , .  Screenplay by John Duigan. Cinematography by .  Produced by , , , , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

Those looking for a good old-fashioned romance (spiced up with a little modern day carnality) will get a kick out of this bubbleheaded epic starring Charlize Theron and .  It’s the 1930s, and he’s an Irish Cambridge student who is enamoured immediately of Theron when she accidentally barges into his dormitory on a rainy night. Years later, he finds her in Paris and strikes up a passionate love affair that becomes a ménage à trois when Theron’s lover Penelope Cruz (who has never been better, or lovelier) is added into the mix. Their ideal youthful ebullience is soon ended, however, when his conscience leads him to enlist in the Spanish Civil War and Cruz’s lifelong dream to become a nurse takes her there as well. This gorgeously realized film by Australian director John Duigan has a lot going for it, including very talented (and beautiful) actors, pin-pointedly accurate period detail and zestfully likeable characters. It loses momentum in its last third, however, and falls out of touch with what we liked about these people in the first place, instead concentrating on tragic panoramic clichés and a ridiculously out-of-place sense of doom. It’s nice to see Theron showing dramatic intensity while staying pretty, and she and Townsend produce a lot of heat on the screen together, but the overall effect is forgettable.

Toronto International Film Festival:  2004

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