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"LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA"
(2007) (Javier Bardem, Giovanna Mezzogiorno) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Heavy Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Minor None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Moderate Heavy Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A man must contend with his lifelong love of a woman whom he cannot have.
PLOT:
It's 1879 and Florentino Ariza (UNAX UGALDE) is a young Columbian man working in the Cartagena telegraph office run by Lotario Thugut (LIEV SCHREIBER). One day on the job, he spots the lovely Fermina Urbino (GIOVANNA MEZZOGIORNO) and is instantly smitten.

Unfortunately for him, her donkey trader father, Lorenzo Daza (JOHN LEGUIZAMO), has grand hopes for her, and certainly doesn't want her marrying someone of Florentino's status. Accordingly, and when things get more serious between the two teens, Lorenzo moves her far away, where she is reunited with her saucy cousin, Hildebranda Sanchez (CATALINA SANDINO MORENO). It's there, and due to fear of her having contracted cholera that Fermina meets Juvenal Urbino (BENJAMIN BRATT), a handsome doctor who assures her that she is okay.

That's good news for Lorenzo who sees the physician as the perfect husband for her daughter, but it's bad for Florentino (JAVIER BARDEM) as he'll have to wait a lifetime to be with her. Worried about her son, Florentino's mother, Tránsito Ariza (FERNANDA MONTENEGRO), has his uncle, Don Leo (HECTOR ELIZONDO), get him a job far away in hopes that it will take his mind off her.

In transit, Florentino is seduced by a stranger, and thus begins what will be a long line of sexual encounters that he uses to mask the pain of his unrequited love for Fermina. As the years pass and her relationship with Juvenal goes through its own throes, Florentino's count of bedded women steadily increases, all as he patently waits for his chance with the love of his life.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of the source novel or someone in the cast, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For sexual content/nudity and brief language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JAVIER BARDEM plays a hopeless romantic who's completely enamored with Fermina and thus spends his entire life waiting for her. In the meantime and to deal with the pain of being lovesick, however, he ends up having hundreds of casual sex encounters, all while helping others find and be with their true loves.
  • GIOVANNA MEZZOGIORNO plays a woman from her teen to senior citizen years who initially likes Florentino and wants to marry him, but then sees him as something of an obsessive stalker years after her father rejects their plans to marry. She ends up with Juvenal and must contend with an unhappy relationship with him. She smokes and eventually ends up having sex with Florentino in her later years.
  • BENJAMIN BRATT plays a handsome doctor who ends up marrying Fermina, but then cheats on her later in their marriage.
  • CATALINA SANDINO MORENO plays Fermina's saucy cousin who flirts and admits to having an affair with a married man. She also briefly smokes.
  • FERNANDA MONTENEGRO plays Florentino's mother who's concerned about his unhappiness stemming from being lovesick over Fermina.
  • JOHN LEGUIZAMO plays Fermina's overbearing father who only wants the best for her, but only if that meets his terms. Accordingly, he rejects and even threatens Florentino in favor of Juvenal. He smokes a few times.
  • HECTOR ELIZONDO plays Florentino's well-to-do uncle who gets him various jobs, and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • UNAX UGALDE plays Florentino as the teen when he initially is smitten with and longs for Fermina, only to run into resistance provided by her father.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while a handful of other expletives are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is present, as is the sight of various sexual encounters (in various positions, with movement, nudity and sounds). Nonsexual nudity (bare breasts) is also viewed, while various prostitutes are seen cavorting with men.

    A man murders his adulterous wife (off-camera), and an older man falls off a ladder and dies from that. Some brief, war-related violence is seen (explosions), while a man threatens a woman with a rifle. Those scenes and the sight of some dead bodies (including from cholera) might be unsettling for some viewers.

    Characters drink and/or smoke, while various bad attitudes are present, including those involving characters cheating on their spouses. That and various deaths lead to tense family material.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of handheld camerawork in the film, some of it rather bouncy.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Lorenzo has wine in front of him with dinner.
  • Lorenzo makes young Florentino have a drink with him, despite the latter saying he's never drank that early in the day.
  • An older prostitute has a drink.
  • Florentino's mom and a miscellaneous widow have drinks.
  • We see wine on the table in front of various people.
  • Florentino seems to have wine while working.
  • Florentino and a woman have some sort of alcohol.
  • Juvenal and Fermina have wine with dinner.
  • Florentino has a drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see old Juvenal's dead body at his funeral.
  • Young Florentino vomits, and then does so again.
  • We see various dead bodies from an outbreak of cholera.
  • We see a miscellaneous person vomit.
  • On a boat, Florentino and others pass another boat that has various dead bodies on it, all cholera victims.
  • Florentino vomits off the side of the boat.
  • As Florentino has sex with a woman on the floor, her pet cat jumps down onto his bare butt and scratches him there, leaving several bloody scratch marks.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Wasting no time, old Florentino expresses his love for Fermina, saying he waited 50 some years to tell her. She's mad, however, because he's chosen to do this on the day of her husband's funeral.
  • Lorenzo is not happy with his daughter for taking a liking to young Florentino, because that upsets his grand plan for her. That gets even worse when he learns that Fermina has accepted Florentino's proposal for marriage. That results in Fermina's servant being fired (for encouraging the romance), and Lorenzo moving Fermina to a remote location to get her away from Florentino.
  • After Lorenzo tells Florentino to call off his romance with Fermina, the young man states that it is her decision. Her father, however, states that it is a matter for men that should be decided by men. He then shows Florentino the handgun in the front of his pants, telling Florentino not to force him to shoot him.
  • Hildebranda admits that she is in love with a married man.
  • Juvenal's mother has a bad and condescending attitude toward Fermina.
  • Juvenal and Fermina present a public award to a Chinese man, but the locals don't approve of the selection and throw various things at Juvenal and Fermina.
  • Florentino has an affair with a married woman.
  • We briefly see a cockfight with cheering spectators.
  • Fermina suspects Juvenal of having an affair, and he confirms that, saying it's been going on for three months.
  • A woman gossips about having heard stories of Florentino and young boys, which Fermina says is not true.
  • Some viewers might not like it when Fermina asked Florentino if he believes in God, and Florentino replies that he doesn't but that he is afraid of Him.
  • Fermina's adult daughter isn't pleased with her seeing Florentino, saying that love at their age is revolting. That results in Fermina kicking her daughter out of her house forever.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • A few dead bodies are seen from time to time, and that may be unsettling to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Young Fermina holds a dinner knife to her own throat as a protest over her father not allowing her to see Florentino, but her father simply walks out of the room and nothing else happens.
  • When Lorenzo tells Fermina they're leaving, he whips what looks like a belt near her to emphasize his point.
  • An explosion rocks the street near Florentino's house, with various people panicking, including a young woman who briefly pauses as a young man points a rifle at her. She then bangs on the door, Florentino's mom allows her to come in, and we hear various explosions outside the house after that.
  • A woman who has been having an affair with Florentino realizes that the wording "this is mine" and an arrow pointing down toward her crotch are still on her, with her husband seeing the same. That husband then grabs and takes a knife to her throat and presumably kills her, but we don't see the actual violence.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Lorenzo shows Florentino the handgun in the front of his pants, telling Florentino not to force him to shoot him.
  • Various miscellaneous men fire handguns into the air in celebration.
  • We see a cannon being fired, but no impact.
  • Miscellaneous men carry rifles.
  • An explosion rocks the street near Florentino's house, with various people panicking, including a young woman who briefly pauses as a young man points a rifle at her. She then bangs on the door, Florentino's mom allows her to come in, and we hear various explosions outside the house after that.
  • An angry husband grabs and takes a knife to his cheating wife's throat and presumably kills her, but we don't see the actual violence.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "He f*cked everyone in sight," "I'll be damned, you screw just like your father," "Whorehouse," "What a whore you are" and "What the hell are you doing?"
  • Florentino has many casual sex partners.
  • Young Fermina holds a dinner knife to her own throat as a protest over her father not allowing her to see Florentino, but her father simply walks out of the room and nothing else happens.
  • Various miscellaneous men fire handguns into the air in celebration.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word (used sexually, as are the terms "screw" and "do it"), 2 slang terms for genitals ("thing"), 2 damns, 1 hell, and 1 use each of "By Christ" and "Christ."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a young bare-breasted woman in a hammock with old Florentino, and she says, "Let's do it again, please." He, however, has sensed Juvenal's death, and therefore nothing else sexual occurs. We later see this same scene (with bare breasts) again.
  • Florentino's boss says that Florentino should take his mind off Fermina, and invites him to come over to the "whorehouse."
  • We see Fermina and Hildebranda in a large washtub (just talking, but we see their bare shoulders and part of their bare backs as they move about inside the tub).
  • We see many prostitutes up on a balcony, with some of them showing bare breasts. Inside, young Florentino's boss wonders which one he is going to choose, but Florentino says he is remaining pure for Fermina. We see various prostitutes hanging all over various men, but nothing sexual is seen.
  • Called to Lorenzo's home upon a report that Fermina has cholera, Juvenal examines her. That includes opening her blouse in bed, and placing his ear to her bare chest and then back to listen for symptoms. We see her bare breasts during this examination, but nothing sexual occurs as it is all done professionally.
  • Fermina show some cleavage.
  • Hildebranda flirts with Juvenal in a carriage, having both of them unlace their boots, and then complaining about the wire cage under her skirt. She is about to remove that, and Juvenal playfully covers his eyes, but Fermina stops her cousin, and nothing else happens. Later, when Hildebranda talks about wanting to devour Juvenal's kisses, Fermina says, "What a whore you are."
  • We see Juvenal in bed, shirtless, waiting for Fermina to join him on their honeymoon night. She is nervous and uncomfortable, stating that this is the first time she has slept with a stranger. He tries to comfort her, and licks one of his fingers that he then puts to her chest (we don't see the contact), but she protests. After he apparently puts her hand on his penis under the sheets, she states that she never has been able to understand how his "thing" works, adding that it's uglier than a woman's thing, and that it has too many other things on it (presumably referring to his testicles). He then climbs on top of her, and they presumably have sex, but we don't see anything more as the scene ends.
  • On a ship, a woman suddenly yanks Florentino into her quarters, undoes his pants, and climbs on top of him to have sex. We see movement and hear her sounds, while he appears quite shocked about what is occurring. They are done rather quickly, and she pushes him back out into the hallway, where he zips up his pants. The next night, he repeatedly passes back and forth in front of that same door, hoping the same thing will happen, but nothing does.
  • Florentino's mother allows a young widow to take refuge in their house during some sort of military operations outside, and suggests that she stays in Florentino's room. That woman states something about wanting a man on the floor or something like that, meant sexually. Later, and in his room, that woman acts panicky about various explosions that are going off outside and thus pulls Florentino to her and then on top of her. We then see a side view (that is mostly in silhouette and briefly illuminated by explosions outside the house) of them having sex in the missionary position, including views of thrusting and his bare butt, while we hear her sexual sounds. We then see a view of them having sex with her on top, including movement and related sounds.
  • We see Florentino coming out of the jungle with a woman, and it's implied that they have had sex. We then see Florentino having sex with another woman up against a wall out in public at night, with his thrusting and her related sounds.
  • Don Leo says several things about Florentino's father (Don Leo's brother), including that his only regret was not dying for love, yet he nevertheless "f*cked everyone in sight."
  • Juvenal kisses on Fermina's neck in bed, but she says that she is having her period, so nothing sexual occurs.
  • A woman with Florentino shows some cleavage.
  • Florentino tells the woman with him that perhaps she would be more comfortable if she loosened her bodice. Accordingly, he helps her do that and then kisses her on her neck. She then quickly lowers her top and we see her bare breasts as she climbs on top of him. We then see them having sex in the missionary position on the floor, but her pet cat jumps and lands on his bare butt, scratching him there. Later, the woman says, "Let's do it tomorrow in bed." We then see them having sex the next day with her having a pacifier in her mouth, presumably to muffle her sexual sounds. After they're done, there is some non-explicit sexual talk (such as him asking what love is and her replying it's what they do without their clothes), followed by them having sex again, with that pacifier going back into her mouth again.
  • While seemingly somewhat senile, Florentino's mom tells him to go back to his "whores."
  • We see a distant side view of a married woman kissing on Florentino's chest as he lies naked by her (we see the side of his bare butt but no view of his genitals). They then do some passionate kissing and we see several views of her bare breasts. We then see him painting letters on her belly, and then see that he has written the phrase "this is mine" with an arrow that points down toward her unseen crotch.
  • Don Leo opens a door to find Florentino having rear entry sex with a woman who is bent over a table or other piece of furniture. There is movement and related sounds but no nudity, and Don Leo half jokingly states, "I'll be damned, you screw just like your father." He then leaves, and Florentino and the woman then resume having sex.
  • Florentino states that he is now seeing his 622nd lover.
  • Florentino picks up his young college lover in a car and she states that he knows what she wants to do (referring to sex).
  • Fermina's adult daughter says the only consoling that Florentino is doing is climbing into a widow's bed.
  • Old Fermina wants old Florentino to turn away as she undresses, saying he won't be pleased with what he sees, but he looks anyway. She then undresses and we see her bare breasts, and then see them again as the two lie side by side in bed, shirtless. He states that he has waited 53 years for this moment and that he has remained a virgin for her, but she knows he is lying and tells him that. He then climbs on top of her and they have sex, seen in head and shoulders views, while we also hear their sexual sounds.
  • SMOKING
  • Fermina smokes at least 4 times, and Hildebranda and Lorenzo (cigars) each smoke a few times, while we see a miscellaneous man carrying an unlit pipe.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see Fermina grieving at Juvenal's funeral.
  • We see a funeral and grieving adult children there.
  • We hear that teenage Fermina's mother is already dead.
  • Lorenzo is not happy with his daughter for taking a liking to young Florentino, because that upsets his grand plan for her. That gets even worse when he learns that Fermina has accepted Florentino's proposal for marriage. That results in Fermina's servant being fired (for encouraging the romance), and Lorenzo moving Fermina to a remote location to get her away from Florentino.
  • We hear that Florentino never knew his father.
  • Juvenal's mother has a bad and condescending attitude toward Fermina.
  • A woman who has been having an affair with Florentino realizes that the wording "this is mine" and an arrow pointing down toward her crotch are still on her, with her husband seeing the same. That husband then grabs and takes a knife to her throat and presumably kills her, but we don't see the actual violence.
  • Florentino kisses his mother on her face, but realizes as her head turns away that she is dead.
  • Fermina suspects Juvenal of having an affair, and he confirms that, saying it's been going on for three months. He then says he is going to call it off, and we see Fermina secretly following him to see who this woman is when Juvenal goes to tell her their affair is over. Juvenal later states that he feels as if he's going to die, with Fermina stating that would be good as it would give both of them peace. Even later, Fermina goes off to stay with Hildebranda.
  • Fermina's adult daughter isn't pleased with her seeing Florentino, saying that love at their age is revolting. That results in Fermina kicking her daughter out of her house forever.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The notion of love at first sight.
  • Being lovesick and/or obsessed with someone.
  • Cholera.
  • Using casual sex to deal with other pain.
  • We hear that Florentino never knew his father.
  • Affairs.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see old Juvenal climbing up a ladder against a tree to try to retrieve his pet bird. However, when the bird bites him on the finger, he ends up falling and landing hard on the ground, appearing in quite a bit of pain (we later see his funeral, presumably a direct result of that fall).
  • As Lorenzo drives away with Fermina, young Florentino jumps onto the moving carriage from which Lorenzo pushes him off, resulting in Florentino landing hard on the ground.
  • An explosion rocks the street near Florentino's house, with various people panicking, including a young woman who briefly pauses as a young man points a rifle at her. She then bangs on the door, Florentino's mom allows her to come in, and we hear various explosions outside the house after that.
  • Juvenal and Fermina present a public award to a Chinese man, but the locals don't approve of the selection and throw various things at Juvenal and Fermina.
  • As Florentino has sex with a woman on the floor, her pet cat jumps down onto his bare butt and scratches him there, leaving several bloody scratch marks.
  • An angry husband grabs and takes a knife to his cheating wife's throat and presumably kills her, but we don't see the actual violence.
  • We briefly see a cockfight with cheering spectators.



  • Reviewed November 6, 2007 / Posted November 16, 2007

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