Love in the Time of Cholera | Chicago Reader

Love in the Time of Cholera

This romantic drama by director Mike Newell preserves the odd playfulness of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's international best seller but sacrifices its eroticism and intricate nonlinear plotting. Javier Bardem is miscast as a timid Colombian clerk and would-be poet whose first love, a fickle, headstrong beauty (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), spurns him for an aristocratic doctor (Benjamin Bratt, excellent). The clerk becomes a wealthy shipping magnate and pines for her over more than 50 years, consoling himself with hundreds of affairs. Stripped of psychological insight, most of these sexual encounters are reduced to bump-and-grind scenes that soon grow tiresome. John Leguizamo and Catalina Sandino Moreno stand out in supporting roles, and production designer Wolf Kroeger magnificently re-creates turn-of-the-century Cartagena. R, 138 min.


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