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Beyond Borders: A Terrifying Reality Told Beautifully

Movie review of the 2003 movie Beyond Borders, starring Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen.

Cover of Beyond Borders (Widescreen Edition)

Great revelation for me: Clive Owen is a good actor. Yeah, I literally just noticed. I also have new respect for Angelina Jolie. I’ll get to that. First: Clive.

First, let me talk a little about another film that I consider very annoying and overrated: Closer. I had seen its trailer and had been impressed by the cast. Hell, put Julia Roberts and Jude Law together and everyone else feels like a bonus. But this movie was so devoid of real emotion…the characters so shallow…at least that’s what it felt like. I certainly despised every action of Jude Law’s and Clive Owen’s characters. But, lucky for Jude I had seen him in many other roles and I let Closer go. I am sorry, I just don’t like that movie.

This was the only movie I had seen Clive in a lead role, so I kinda hated him. Now I realize he is one of those fine actors that manipulate you through every movie. I had thought he was repelling and even ugly. I saw Beyond Borders yesterday and now not only I like Clive, I think he is attractive. No, nothing changed about his looks. Just the role. Wow.

I’ll come to the respect for Jolie part later.

Back to Beyond Borders

The movie is simple. From the storytelling to the script, to the acting…It is simple, to the point and effective. Yes, it tells a love story to make the story even more appealing, but hey- I will tell you another reason why you need the love story here. Let’s go over the plot a bit.

Sarah Jordan is an American living and working in London with her British husband. Her ordinary and nice life gets disrupted when the charity event she joined with her husband is crashed by Nick Callahan, a maverick doctor working in hunger and war-stricken Africa, doing his best to save as many people as he can. He is not impressed at all by the 20000-a plate -charity events that doesn’t change things in the least. He is not considered welcome by most, but he gets his point across and this serves as a reality check for Sarah. Her job at an art gallery seems devoid of meaning so she collects as much money as she can and goes to deliver whatever she could personally- to Africa. When Nick sees her, he is not impressed. He thinks she is just having a temporary conscience attack. But he gets to know her and realizes that she truly wants to do whatever she can to make a difference. Although an affair of any sorts doesn’t start between them, a unique connection has been made.

The next time they will see each other will be years later- when Sarah goes to Cambodia to help out Nick and his friends. Things are not any easier here and the connection isn’t any less intense. But how are they supposed to have a relationship when Sarah has a family at home and Nick has dedicated his whole life to saving people?

It is depressing, heart-breaking and very real. And trust me Nick and Sarah’s characters are just pawns in telling a terrifying everyday reality. Sure, it is romantic and emotional and passionate and yeah it makes you want to believe such love exists: love that goes beyond time and borders and any obstacles. But what really matters is that, you want to believe people like Sarah and Nick exist. I mean, we know that they exist but we need more of them. You also want to believe you have the guts, courage and selflessness to go out there and help people that you don’t even know. The respect thing for Jolie? As sick as I am of her media coverage and her relationship with Brad Pitt, as much as I believe she should also reach out for kids- homeless, poor, hungry, mistreated kids- in her own country as well, I respect the relief work she does and the fact that she uses her fame to make a difference. Are any parts of it related to publicity? I don’t know- but I don’t care. She has done some pretty great things and sometimes, results speak more than the intentions. It is great she’s doing this. Yeah, I respect her.

Great movie. A must-see, for a reality check. But hey, it is usually the politicians who need it and mostly miss it, right?

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  1. Posted January 24, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Great review. I’ll have to check it out.

  2. Posted January 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I saw part of the trailer but you have explained the movie well enough for me to check the movie.Thanks.:)

  3. Posted January 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I am glad you enjoyed the review. It is a truly beautiful film and it is very meaningful.

  4. Posted January 24, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    I have not watched the movie but I will definitely try to watch it.

  5. Posted January 25, 2010 at 7:05 am

    You should. It is haunting, compelling, romantic and…well, I just hope guys won’t pass on it because they think it is all about the romance. Romance is just the tool here.

  6. Posted January 25, 2010 at 9:24 am

    another wonderful review Zoey :) I would love to see this.

  7. Posted January 25, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks, AlmaG. Always appreciate your feedback. :)

    P.S.It turned me from an Owen hater to an Owen fan.

  8. Posted January 25, 2010 at 8:19 pm


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