Friday, July 18, 2014

276 of 1001 Movies: Doctor Zhivago (1965)

With someone who has such a terrible attention span, sometimes tackling a movie that is an epic romance and drama is not something I should choose to do. This movie though for the romantic at heart knows how to pull at you, and even in a recent Entertainment Weekly was listed as the romance of it's era in the 60's, falling into the same list with Titanic that made the romance of it's era in the 90's. For me though there was something very intense and over dramatic that kept me from really getting into the characters though.

Summary: Yuri is a poet, but while he struggles with his writings he finds himself being a doctor. In this three hour epic though his life changes drastically for a man who married a woman, and started a family, and expected to hope to settle down normally, after he meets the wife of a political activist that he falls for. He now is tempted to pursue her especially as the revolution draws them closer together. For Yuri though a lot is at risk as he gets closer to Lara.

Acting: There were some good moments to the acting, but overall everything was very intense.Omar Sharif is Yuri, and I thought he was the most intriguing person, which helps considering he is the lead, and Julie Christie as Lara has great chemistry with him. Though they are in an affair you can sense what keeps drawing them back together through all this time together. The wife of Yuri, Tonya, who is portrayed by Geraldine Chaplin is also very suiting because you feel really bad for her for getting up in all this. He's knocked up the lady twice, and you just feel bad for her. Also interesting was the dynamic of the other relationships and people in the movie. There are a couple of guys who seem to be interested in Lara as well, but they fall on the opposite side of who Yuri is.

Filming: The set was really well done and it captures the time they are living in. I think the most memorable scene of the whole movie is when they return to a house out in the middle of Russia somewhere that has been abandoned to the cold. Somehow the house becomes completely iced over inside and out after a storm, and it looks eerie. It's like a winter wonderland with a dark backdrop.

Plot: The plot is based on a book of the same name. I'm not sure how I would feel about the novel especially since it is from a period that I'm not a huge fan of. The story picks up by the end, because if you watch long enough I think it's hard to not eventually become curious about the fate of these characters. By the end of the three hours you can at least get the gist of the romance, but to be honest infidelity has never been romantic to me. The fact it was the romance of it's era maybe is a bit tell tale of the times, but then again when I think about it a lot of movies that involve cheating or people torn between two men seem to be a huge hit. Like Titanic for example, one guy was this more carefree, artistic nature, and the other was more controlling, domineering, and money hungry. Even with The Notebook you have a woman torn between the commitment she has made to marry a man, and seeking out an old lover she thought had abandon communicating with her. I can get more on board with finding Titanic or The Notebook romantic as neither people were married.

Anyways, Doctor Zhivago is good to check out if your slightly curious about this history of Russia, or you just like epic romances. It does follow a lot of the criteria and feelings that I can understand what made it popular at the time. For me I did have a hugely hard time getting into it, and actually it was an accident that it arrived in my Netflix box when it did.

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