After much dithering I finally got around to watching ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ and was predictably disappointed. I tend to avoid the movie if I already like the book. But if I can’t quite make up my mind I would watch the movie for better elucidation as was the case with this.
Anyone who has read Gabriel Garcia Marquez will know that his books are more about the journey than the destination. The descriptions are so vivid and the analogies apt. He has the unfailing ability to make me conjure imagery in my mind of places I have never heard of and landscapes I have never seen. The people you meet in his books are essentially flawed and almost pathetic, but so very human. I remember the feeling of my whole being withering as I read ‘No one Writes to the Colonel’ and blushing many times over as I read ‘Memories of My Melancholy Whores’. In his writing you rarely find a strategic plot, a shocking twist or nail-biting anticipation. Yet he weaves me in, making me one with his story and its characters.
The movie however left a bland taste in my mouth with its failure to capture the magic of Gabo’s writing. Javier Bardem as Florentino Ariza was somewhat convincing although as he started to look rather grotesque as he aged. But Fermina was downright disappointing. I expected a strong fiery performance instead of the sullen woman she appeared to be in the movie. The more subtle nuances of the book were completely lost and even the significance of cholera was barely touched upon.
I do realize that it must be difficult to transform a book of such character into mere two hours of film, but somehow it seemed as if they didn’t even try hard enough.