Based upon the novel, this movie follows the love sick character Florentino Ariza, played by Javier Bardem. Better know for his role in No Country For Old Men, Javier shows his softer side, as he follows the love of his life Fermina Urbino, played by Giovanna Mezzogiorno. A virtual unknown in American cinema, she lends herself to the role of Fermina, a quiet, reserved woman who first sees Florentino as he is leaving from a telegram delivery. Head over heals Florentino devotes his life to this woman he does not know, vowing to keep himself a virgin and wait for her, for however long it takes.
Excited his mother, ushers him to pursue his love. Florentino writes a letter the size of a book to give to her, expressing how he feels. She eventually accepts it and is about to deny his request for her hand in marriage, when the aunt tells her, not to be a fool and accept. She does reluctantly and without her fathers permission. Her father played by John Leguizamo, whisks her away to the country, as he only just moved there and with the intention of his daughter marrying above their class. A telegraph boy was not what he had in mind. With his love taken and nothing, but his writing, Florentino begins a quest of love and passion in poetry. Eventually marrying a doctor played by Benjamin Pratt, Fermina struggles with her boyhood crush and her very attractive and rich husband. Florentino does not give up and the story lends itself to a true romantic tale.
Unfortunately, I have not read the book, but having seen the film, I am inclined to do that. The story was beautiful, the twists, the plot points, the actors, the cinematography, however, the faults were too many for me to enjoy the film. I wanted to ring Florentino’s neck for crying so damn much, but I forgave that writing privilege, for the sake of it being a love story. Yet, there is not one excuse acceptable for the poorly done make up and aging done to the actors. I could see the cracks in the make up for God’s sakes. The parts of the story that I’m sure were in the book, but obviously missing from the movie, would probably have made for a more believable timeline. One minute their young and acceptably aging to the next faze in life. However, when they age from middle age to senior citizen, not only does the make up get worse, but so does the believability of time. I would have liked to see more in regards to what Fermina was doing. She seems so meek and mild, but with an underlying spunk to her throughout the whole film and then by the time she meets up with Florentino again in her old, old age of 72, she is not only sure of herself, adamant about her wants and needs, but also easy to show her breasts, which she was very shy about early on. How did this character development take place? We never find out.
I certainly agree to take the extra step to go read the book first and if you can overlook the poor make up and poor transition of time, then the movie may add to the books experience. I give the movie a 6.