Saturday, September 01, 2007

Friday Film Night - A Walk In The Clouds

If you're in need of an out and out love story this weekend then The Pink Heart Society's editor Trish Wylie is back again ~ this time to finally give up one she wanted to keep for herself a little longer... and to invite you to take A Walk In The Clouds...

A man in search. A woman in need. A story of fate.

How can you resist with a tagline like that I ask you? And we've talked a lot here at The Pink Heart Society about movies that could make a romance novel and lemme tell you - there's enough in this one to make you believe the love story would read just as beautifully between the pages of a book as it comes across on the screen.

And I hope you understand by the end of it that this one was a tough one for me to share ~ kinda my little secret gem when I needed a dose of romance to renew me when the muse felt burned out... But when I dug it out again this weekend past having sent away what felt like the re-write from hell - well - I remembered how much I loved it, watched it twice, and then decided to share... ;) Finally.

To demonstrate what I mean about it 'could be a book' let's take a quick look at the synopsis I found which, although a tad brief and no-where near how good the story is, gives you an idea:

A World War II vet, on the road as a traveling salesman, agrees to help a desperate, pregnant woman – who is afraid to let her father see her condition – by pretending to be her husband.

Take out the WW II vet and travelling salesman bit and the fact that technically Keanu's character is a teeny bit married to somebody else at the beginning... and well... with a little imagination that's practically the kinda back-blurb we're used to, isn't it? And let me tell ya gals, even with Keanu Reeves reputation of sometimes being a little wooden in his roles this is a beeeeaaauuuutttiiifffuuuullll film - and worth the watching for some of the kissing alone!!! Have I ever led you wrong??? If I have just lie, okay?

Based on an old Italian film called 'First Steps In The Clouds' and filmed in the wine region of the Napa Valley in California, this first major studio production directed by Alfonso Arau stars a cast list to tempt you all on it's own! As well as Keanu in his Speed looks era, you have Anthony Quinn, Giancarlo Giannini, Angelica Aragon, Debra Messing and the truly beautiful Aitana Sanchez-Gijon as Keanu's love interest Victoria...

But let's get down to the nitty-gritty shall we? Keanu plays Paul Sutton, recently returned from WW II as a decorated hero and determined to change his life in the real world. The war has changed him, as I'm sure it did so many men of that era but when he comes home to the woman he married during the chaos and live-for-the moment years of the war, (played by Debra Messing), she hasn't even read any of the hundreds of letters he sent pouring his heart out about his dreams for the future. Back on the road in his old job of a chocolate seller travelling salesman (gets more attractive by the minute really doesn't he?) he bumps into - literally - Victoria Aragon, who is heading home from college to her family's vineyard in Napa.

When they keep bumping into each other (does anyone else but me believe in fate? SIGH) it transpires that Victoria is going home to face her family, pregnant and unmarried - which is a big deal in those days before you even take into account her traditional catholic family... So what else is our hero to do but offer to help?

He says she can appear with a husband, who will stay one night and then leave her - letting her seem like the wounded party kind of thing and therefore saving face with her Father. What is it they say about the best laid plans???

It's when we meet Victoria's family that the film takes on an almost epic-family-history feel to it, with three generations all living under the same roof once Victoria is home. Their lives are bound by the history of the vineyard and by love for one another. And yet, as we all know, family can be difficult...

Victoria's father is NOT happy about a new husband! Who is this man who has married his daughter? Where had he come from? Why did he not know of him before! So he makes Paul's *welcome* to the family far from warm. Thank goodness for Don Pedro the grandfather (Anthony Quinn) who takes Paul under his wing and dishes out little sparkling gems of wisdom while eating all the chocolates Paul had brought on the road to try and sell...

Don Pedro Aragon: Clothes are like family. You have to live in them for awhile before you have the perfect fit. But you are doing great.

Paul: I don't know if everyone would share your opinion.

Don Pedro: Well, it's not easy being in charge. It's not easy for me. It's not easy for him. Every man has to find his own way. But I have faith in my son. And I have faith in you. But your fly is open.

With Don Pedro making it difficult for him to leave every chance he gets (hilariously at one stage pointing out there's no rush now he hasn't any chocolates to sell anymore anyway) and his feelings for Victoria growing stronger - Paul, who as an orphan has never had a family history like the Aragon's, soon finds it more and more difficult to maintain his strong sense of honour. He won't give in to his attraction to Victoria because he's a married man (though not happily and remember he's not been with this woman for years while he away fighting a war) and he won't leave her while she needs him.... How much are we LOVING this guy already???

It's a FANTASTIC film guys. And OH-SO-ROMANTIC. You can see them falling for each other, you can almost feel the inner battle and just watch the poor soul after he gets drunk with Don Pedro and is talked into trying to serenade Victoria under her window.... standing there... his little face falling when she doesn't turn on the light to say he can come up after they've argued...

Don Pedro: Newlyweds. What else do they do but make love and war?

Little by little Paul gradually earns her father Alberto's respect. Alberto is no easy man - he has worked all his life to support his family with the vineyard and now they are both well-known and respected but he feels the struggle all father's feel with his children going out into the world and possibly moving on with their own lives away from all he has built ...and this... nobody... dares to tell him about his own relationship with his daughter!

Paul: Why can't you just love her? She's so easy to love.

Alfonso: You know nothing about my daughter! You hear me - nothing!

Paul: I know that she is good and strong and deserves all the love this world has to give. Can't you see that, how wonderful, how special she is?

So Paul battles his own emotions and her father, all the while knowing while he tries to do the right thing he's still lying and no matter how many times he tries to live up to the bargain he made with Victoria and leave, there's always something stopping him. It's that whole outer persona/inner need thing again, isn't it? And we category romance fans know they can fight that all they want... but really...with his need for what he wants for himself staring him in the face...? Even Grandma Aragon can see it...

Guadalupe Aragon: You must see it through. Your fate. What brought you here.

It's a beautiful film in case I haven't said so. In so many ways - visually beautiful (when you get your first glimpse of Las Nubes - the family vineyard, it's name meaning "the clouds."- it's coloured in such a way that it looks like a fairytale), the Maurice Jarre soundtrack of music just adding that little bit of magic as it permeates the most poignant scenes, and that family - the wonderfully eclectic, strong willed, loving bunch of people who Paul soooooo needs having never known family - and with the woman he can't resist but MUST - no matter how drawn he is to her - standing at the centre of it, just, waiting for him...

Paul: She's like the air to me.

Yes I LOVE THIS FILM. If it was a book it would be on my keeper shelf. And it's not just that it's so beautifully perfectly romantic for an afternoon on the sofa with choccie and a blankie and the phone turned off, I think it's also that it reminds me of the kind of films I loved growing up - gorgeous epic feeling love stories that make you believe in honourable heroes and love shining through. I was raised on 'em... And if I haven't convinced you already have a look at the trailer:

So I give this one a Warm and Fuzzy Rating of a resounding 10/10 ~They just don't make enough of these anymore imho...

H's & K's

Trish is THRILLED to bring her first Modern Extra book White-Hot to the USA & Canada this month as part of the Promotional Presents mini-series - Eligible Bachelors along with books by Kate Hardy, Kelly Hunter & Julie Cohen.


Released as The Firefighter's Chosen Bride the book is available through the Eharlequin Site and at Amazon. You can also buy it as an E-Book here!!!

For more info visit her Website or her Blog.


  1. That review has done absolutely nothing to bring my Amazon habit under control. I've clicked!

    Any other little gems you're keeping to yourself????????

  2. Ahhhhh now that would be TELLING wouldn't it???????

    I think you'll LOVE IT!!!

  3. I adored that movie. His line: 'Why can't you just love her? She's so easy to love.' was heart-melting, truly.


  4. Trish, I have loved that movie from the first time I saw it and you've just made me want to watch it again. Good thing the dh bought me a copy in a used movie sale at our local dvd/video shop. He's good like that ;-)

  5. So what we're saying is my secret gem of a movie not so much of a secret then - huh???


  6. I watched this a few years ago, and I'd forgotten all about it. You're absolutely right, Trish, it's LUSCIOUS. Thanks v much for the reminder!

  7. Well, maybe it is still a secret because notice that we none of us bandy it about. Perhaps it's the very nature of the movie that makes us want to hoard the feelings it evokes close to our hearts. You know, like you don't want to necessarily have to explain why it appeals to you so much, you just want to experience it.