I hadn't seen this movie in ages but I was so happy to hop into it once again.
I feel officially up there in age when I can say they don't make movies like they used to. I showed this to my mother recently who said it was like watching an old movie. With the lushness of the scenery the romantic nature of the characters and the sweet courting, I can't help but agree with her.
Like Water For Chocolate director Alfonso Arau oversees this piece. Aitana Sanchez Gijon and Keanu Reeves heads up our hero and heroine which is a romantic movie in every sense of the word. The basic plot goes: Paul Sutton is literally just getting off the boat and coming home from serving WWII. He's on his way to see his shotgun wedding wife (Debra Messing of Will & Grace and Starter Wife fame) who he has been writing every day. Things don't go as planned (to settle down have a family, white picket fence and a dog) and she sends him right back into the chocolate sales business. On his way to Sacramento to set up his job, he meets Victoria Aragon.
Victoria has a problem. During her time away at college, she got involved with her professor and ended up pregnant. Once she told her professor about this, he basically says he can't be tied down and sends her on her way. Now Victoria is heading home to face her very strict father with the news. Believing her father will kill her if she arrives as an unmarried mother-to-be, Victoria is distressed. Paul suggests he help her out by pretending to be her husband and then skipping out the next day so the blame is put on him. At first Victoria is skeptical but soon gives in.
As the story continues, we get to meet Victoria's family played by a wonderful array of talents including the awesome Giancarlo Giannini as Alberto Aragon and the late great amazing Anthony Quinn as the patriarch of the family, Pedro Aragon.
Not only is there a romantic relationship developing, there is a familial one as Paul finds himself falling in love with the family as well as Victoria. Setting also plays as an extra character as amazing on location cinematography and matte paintings display a gorgeous Napa setting. A tragic event during the climax of the movie culminates between the characters and the setting which also give a beautiful hope for the future of Paul and the Aragons.
I love that Keanu Reeves's Paul Sutton is a romantic, polite, shy man here. Many romance heroes today are often depicted as boisterous, alpha and overbearing and it's nice to see a low key yet romantic honorable man in the midst of the same ole same ole.
Aitana Sanchez Gijon's Victoria Aragon is awesome as she shows a nervous vulnerability at her future but a strong young woman willing to stand up and defend her choices in love.
The script is beautiful as both Paul and Victoria fall in love, experience losses and eventually triumph. My favorite scene has to be the serenade with a tipsy Anthony Quinn directing Paul how to woo Victoria. The story offers a simplicity that isn't experienced much in cinema today with a nice, generous helping of HEA satisfaction.
I recently found out that there's novelization of A Walk in the Clouds available from Alibris.com. For those big readers out there, it's a treat to read the inner thoughts and feelings of characters in the movies they've seen and I'm right there with them. I've been dying to read an old fashioned love story so I'll probably read this after I'm finished with my current books.
All in all, today I was reminded why A Walk in the Clouds is one of my favorite movies. It reminds me of why the golden age of cinema was considered golden. Packed with storytelling, a beautiful love story and an equally gorgeous setting, A Walk in the Clouds will remind you what it's like to fall in love again.
A Walk in the Clouds is available in DVD at some great prices. The novelization is available used on Alibris.