Friday, April 03, 2009

Old Cloud Shaped Like A Heart

This was originally posted in my 2008 Toronto Film Festival Recap. The review has been fixed up and re-posted as the film was finally released in theatres today.

Cloud 9 (WolKe 9)

Sex and the City proved that single women could still have a sex life at age 40. Well Cloud 9 goes one step further by saying that women over sixty can still get “their groove on.” The film features the most graphic, yet realistic, depiction of sexual intimacy between couples in their sixties and seventies, yet this is not a pornographic film. Cloud 9 dares to show that human desires do not magically stop with age.

After thirty years of marriage Inge (Ursula Werner), sixty years old, decides to act on her lust for Karl (Horst Westphal), a man thirteen years her senior. Eventually Inge falls in love with Karl and decides to come clean about the affair to her family. To Inge’s surprise, her eldest daughter is very supportive and encourages Inge to continue with the affair. Yet she advises Inge not to tell her husband, Werner (Horst Rehberg). Riddled with guilt, Inge can no longer keep Werner in the dark. Obvious to everyone except Inge, Werner is both outrage and hurt by the news. This forces Inge to make some difficult choices about her life. Should Inge follow her heart? If so, can she live with the consequences?

While Cloud 9 is to be commended for its frank approach at showing that love knows no age, the film will surely cause different levels of discussion based on your perspective. The major issue I had with the film is similar to the one I had with the film The Other Man (a Liam Neeson film that has yet to be released in theatres). If the film were about Werner cheating, both Inge and her daughter would have drastically different responses than their current ones in the film. Despite her age, Inge basically turns into a schoolgirl again when she is with Karl. Which is understandable to a point, yet I find it hard to believe that Inge would be so naïve as to think that Werner would be cool with the affair. When Werner tells her that she is sixty and should know better, Inge replies “What does my age have to do with it?” Inge basically justifies the affair by stating “I cannot help who I fall in love with, why can’t you just be happy for me?” Again, picture a man saying these exact words. All of a sudden that line of logic does not hold up in your mind once the roles are reversed does it? Yep, I thought so.

Inge’s sudden and awkward child-like innocence aside, I must give Ursula Werner credit for giving a wonderfully brave performance. Regardless if you agree with her character’s action, Ursula successfully makes you feel for Inge the entire way through. Regardless of which side you are on, Cloud 9 is an interesting film that proves that matters of the heart are truly timeless.

(warning trailer contains nudity)

For more reviews from 2009 click here

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