Pin It
Favorite

Take Two 

Love in the Time of Cholera & r & & r & by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & O & lt;/span & nly in the absurdist, contrary, slightly perverse mind of Gabriel Garcia Marquez could a journal of 622 sexual conquests come to be seen as a ledger of fidelity. Only there too could incubate a form of unrequited love so crippling that its symptoms resemble the bowel-knotting effects of cholera. And only through his pen could this story -- of trivial sex and diarrheal disease -- become one of the world's great love stories. (Oprah's never wrong about these things, you know.)





Written three years after he won the Nobel Prize and some 18 after the work that would define his career (One Hundred Years of Solitude), Marquez' 1985 novel is a rambling, seemingly single-minded meditation on miraculous, impossible love. On the evening of her husband's funeral, tottering old Fermina Daza returns home to find a tottering old Florentino Ariza, who professes his love after some 50 years. The widow Daza throws him out and the story begins, transporting the reader back a half century to their first meeting, where Florentino would stumble upon a crush that would become the obsession of a lifetime.





Seeing Fermina for the first time quite unexpectedly while delivering a telegram, Florentino -- who has a way with words -- first woos the young heiress with letter after letter of meditations upon the nature of his love for her. Initially, the epistolary romance leads her to accept an invitation of marriage. After her violent father, though, who has higher plans for his daughter's betrothal, orders her into the country and away from temptation, the lovers continue to communicate via the magic-seeming telegraph machines that have recently begun crisscrossing the nation.





Upon her return from exile, Fermina experiences a quick, decisive change of heart. This love affair has been a child's game, she realizes, leaving Florentino -- still very much in love -- to pine after her for the better part of five decades, through civil war, the pestilence of cholera (which has symptoms similar to his love pangs), the ravages of age and the momentary respites of those 622 different lovers. Though he makes a few furtive attempts to forget her, by this point, Florentino's doomed.





Garcia Marquez's book sprawls that story out over 500-odd pages of unhurried text. This adaptation by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Donnie Brasco) doesn't have the kind of time needed to really imbue the story with a sense of singular place and pervasive magic, but it hits a lot of the high points. It also shifts the narrative locus from Fermina as object-of-desire (the way Marquez had it) to something more centered on Florentino's clumsy devotion.





Shooting decadently but enthusiastically, Newell dotes on Javier Bardem's Florentino, keeping tight to his face as the Spaniard gives the character a sense of vacant determination. It's a good way to scale down a narrative this huge, but as Newell focuses on the man and his missteps through life, he misses most of the delicate context of Garcia Marquez's novel. The film, then, can't be as deeply metaphoric and evocative as the book, which turns the affair of longing into a symbol for the turbulence of the world around it. Newell's film is, though, something simple, absurd and heartfelt. In its own imperfect way, it's magic. (Rated R)

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • OK, Hold Your Nose
  • OK, Hold Your Nose

    Everything you need to know before Election Day
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Base of Support
  • Base of Support

    Polling local leaders and opinion-makers about presidential politics
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • The Messenger
  • The Messenger

    Local leaders weigh in on how Donald Trump's campaign has impacted racism in America
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Inlander Debate Party

Inlander Debate Party @ nYne

Mon., Sept. 26, 5 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • Manufacturing Fear
  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • Won't Back Down
  • Won't Back Down

    Opponents of the state's new gun background check law are still fighting against it
    • Feb 18, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation