Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Walk in the Clouds (1995) [PG-13] ***

Returning home to San Francisco in 1945, after having fought in the Pacific for four years during WWII, Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves) discovers he has nothing in common with Betty (Debra Messing), the girl he married just before shipping out. And so he leaves for Sacramento to fulfill commitments he has made to his new employer, a chocolate manufacturer.

On the train he meets Victoria Aragon (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon) who is returning to her ancestral home and vineyard in the Napa Valley, after having been seduced and abandoned by her college professor, whose baby she is carrying. Fearing the wrath of her strict, traditional father Alberto (Giancarlo Giannini), Victoria accepts Paul's offer to stay overnight at her home, and be introduced as her husband to her family. But neither Paul nor Victoria anticipate that they will fall in love with each other, or that her grandfather Don Pedro (Anthony Quinn) will play Cupid with such compassion, tenderness and wisdom.

Featuring the beautiful scenery of the California wine country, the earthy eroticism of the grape harvest, and a lush, Golden Globe-winning musical score, this is a reasonably satisfying romantic drama despite Reeves' rather cool, unemotional performance, minimal romantic chemistry between the leads, an uninspired screenplay and some overacting, especially by Giannini. Although critics were luke-warm to this film, it has earned praise from viewers, so if you are a fan of romantic dramas starring Keanu Reeves, this one is not to be missed. For a cross-cultural romantic comedy on a similar theme, I recommend Fools Rush In with Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry. 

Labels: drama, romance, winemaking
Internet Movie Database
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=55, viewers=66)