Rated: PG-13 Reviewed by: Frank Release date: August 11, 1995 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox
Some films have special qualities which cannot be spoiled even when there are sections of the story which are terrible. A Walk in the Clouds is such a production. The casting and characters are compelling. The film is enjoyable and pleasant to watch despite a very silly overly dramatic climax.
The late forties in America are becoming almost mystic. It is the time in the history of the world when one country dominated the globe and was respected and envied by all nations. In the United States citizens knew there was nothing they could not accomplish. The greatest evil to descend on Europe was wiped out by this young evolving country which had very little culture and history to look back upon.
Symbols of this success and confidence were the returning American soldiers, who were truly the conquering heroes. Everyone was ready and willing to help them fold back into the land they had fought for. The country was united and supremely confident. Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves) is one of the heroes. His homecoming is less than many others, as his wife is not interested in his dream of a small home with kids and she has other men waiting to take Sutton's place. Some haven't waited until his return. Following his disappointing reunion with his wife, he sets off to become a chocolate salesman. Reeves' character is so perfect that he almost fails to pull off the atmosphere necessary for this young soldier to make his way into the home and family of Victoria Aragon (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon), a young college student he meets on a train. Victoria is the daughter of Alberto (Giancarlo Giannini) a crusty dominating leader of the grape faming, wine producing, Aragon family form the Napa Valley in California. Because Victoria is pregnant and unmarried, she expects her father to kill her when she arrives home. Victoria and Paul decide to fake a marriage to protect Victoria.
When they arrive at the "Clouds," the name of the vineyard of the Aragon family, there is a sense of destiny for both young people. The farm is magnificent to Paul, who grew up in an orphanage. The family history, which began long before the United States, contains the depth of ancestry that Paul craves. The fake marriage develops quickly into love between the two.
How it is all resolved is a little clumsy and some times silly. There is a soap opera feeling very often close to the surface. What makes the film work is the wonderful cast led by Anthony Quinn who has a perfect part as the gentle grandfather who quickly determines the false relationship and decides they belong together. His antics are comical and heart warming. Reeves plays his role with strength and calmness that nearly cover his nervousness at the deception, and his growing love for Victoria.
The positive warmth of the many characters in the Aragon family shows what we now call a Hispanic family that is functional, loyal and dedicated. Their celebrations, passions and anger give a different picture of Mexican-Americans than what is usually shown. The recent film My Family ranged from the twenties to the seventies in the lives of a Mexican-American family, and spent time depicting how they did not fit in the United States. A Walk in the Clouds shows how this family was a part of the land and country. It is a positive story of an American family and young lovers during an innocent age.
Even with the schmaltz it worked for me.
|A Walk in the Clouds||B||B|