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The Man Who Cried

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Man Who Cried

Starring: Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchett
Director: Sally Potter
Rated: R
RunTime: 97 Minutes
Release Date: June 2001
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: John Turturro, Johnny Depp, Harry Dean Stanton, Claudia Lander-Duke, Oleg Yankovsky

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie review
2.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

Writer and director Sally Potter (THE TANGO LESSON), who has a propensity for crafting sumptuous music and visuals while having difficulty coming up with a compelling narrative, has her usual troubles in THE MAN WHO CRIED. Although it never achieves lift-off, its clichéd story boldly comes out foursquare against anti-Semitism. Among its musical treats are melodic opera arias, lip-synced by John Turturro in a silly beard, and a moody rendition of "Gloomy Sunday," lip-synced by Christina Ricci. The superlative actors also include Cate Blanchett as a blonde bimbo, who worries that she hasn't used enough bleach on her hair, and Johnny Depp, who repeats his role from CHOCOLAT as a gypsy hunk living in France.

As the story begins in an unknown time and place, Yiddish-speaking characters are fleeing a village. One young girl, played by Claudia Lander-Duke, is sent off to America but arrives instead in Britain, where the immigration officials randomly assign her the name of Susan. Susan, who takes the nickname of Suzie, is caned at school by her principal for speaking Yiddish. The principal remarks that they didn't let him speak Welsh when he was young.

Jumping forward in time to pre-World War II Britain, a grown-up Suzie (played by a miscast Ricci) embarks on a new career as a member of a scantily-clad group of singers and dancers bound for Paris. With a laughably overdrawn Russian accent, Cate Blanchett plays Lola, Suzie's roommate in her new troupe. When they arrive in Paris, Lola takes up with Dante (Turturro), an Italian opera singer with a large ego. After working hard, albeit with mixed success, on making the accents authentic, Potter gives up on only one nationality, the Germans. The only characters with American accents are the Nazis. Go figure.

Since we've seen all of this before, the only things we're likely to remember are the visuals. Two stand out. Depp makes one heck of a handsome gypsy, and Turturro looks ridiculous as an opera singer.

THE MAN WHO CRIED runs a long 1:37. It is rated R for sexuality and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes

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