(2006) dir. John Curran
You might call this film “Love in the time of Cholera in China”. While there’s no Gabriel García Márquez, the film is adapted from a novel by M. Somerset Maugham, so you get the literary angle stuck in there. And really, this is a modern type of genre film, the period romance adapted from literature. And an exotic setting.
It’s Naomi Watts and Edward Norton, both playing English people in the 1920’s, a couple who is married on the quick, convenience and escape for Watts, infatuated love for Norton. But he’s a nebbish scientist, she’s a hot would-be flapper. She has an affair that nearly destroys their marriage. He then semi-blackmails her into coming into the interior of China where he dedicates himself to saving people from a Cholera outbreak and studying the disease. And well, that’s the drama.
The settings are beautiful and nicely photographed. I’ve liked Naomi Watts since Mulholland Dr. (2001). Norton I can take or leave. I realized as I sat down to watch this film that I didn’t fully realize why I had even rented it. It’s not my type of film on the whole, but I think good reviews at the time got it into my queue. I found it a bit of a drag at first, but then realized that I was involved with the characters and thought the film to be pretty well-produced.
It really isn’t my thing. And I think I’ll think about it a bit more before voyaging into this genre again, unless it’s on a trope with a director that I like a lot. It’s pretty. It’s engaging. It’s not bad.