Friday, December 09, 2005

Head in the Clouds (2004)-R

This is a movie that contains two stories. The first is a story about a love triangle. The second is story about a woman who uses sex to advance her wealth and profession.

Have you ever loved two or more people at once and wished that it could workout? I loved Mary from Chicago when I was in high school and early college. I later loved Janet during graduate school at Carbondale, Illinois. I also loved Emily, who I eventually married. During the 1970’s I fantasized that Mary, Janet and Emily would fall in love with each other. This was not a lesbian erotic fantasy (that would come later). This was the only logical formula I could conceive of to solve the problem of loving two (or more) people. Surprise! It never happen. In the first story in “Head in the Clouds” it did happen. Gilda, played by Charilize Theron is the daughter of a wealthy European businessman in the late 1930’s who ends up loving two people. One is a handsome Irish man Guy, played by Stuart Townsend. He is committed to fighting against Franco in the Spanish civil war. The other is Mia, played by Penelope Cruz, a nurse and confidante. Gilda loves, not warm affection loves but erotic sexually loves, both people. Guy and Mia have the warm affection for each other and are happy to share a three-some bed together as long as they can love Gilda. Gilda suggests that Guy and Mia have a baby. Clearly Gilda was reading my playbook of the early 1970’s, for truly this was the solution to turn a love “V” into a love “triangle.” The baby does not happen but the love triangle does.

The second story is about Gilda, her courting of Nazi generals, her double life as an English spy and her tastes for the very finest wines, dresses and parties. We follow her as she achieves wealth and prestige in her “business”, in part, by freely exchanging her sexual skills with her clients. Nowhere do we get a sense that this is a hardship for Gilda. She clearly enjoys erotic pleasure and freely shares it to gain personal wealth and a luxury lifestyle during the darkest days of the Nazi occupation of Paris.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and so did Emily, my wife. The photography of Paris and Europe, along with the period costumes, is spectacular. The photography and costumes are worth seeing this film even if you hate everything else. The sex scenes were photographed well, but seemed more playful than erotic. The Netflix audience rates this film at almost four stars whereas the professional critics, with the exception of Roger Ebert, disliked the film (rottentomato web site of 14% approval). Emily believes this is because the critics are primarily men. This is a film about a very strong woman, Gilda. She owns her own sexuality despite her freely sharing it with others. She has her own compass and does not melt in the arms of Guy, even though she truly loves him. In fact, she does the most paradoxical action by encouraging Guy to truly fall in love with another women, therefore hoping to “have it all.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Paul on this one... I like this film... the acting was great as well as the story. Yes, it's a chick flick, but very nicely done, with many great moments in the film. Hugh