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Reviewed April 3rd, 2002 by David Nusair


Despite the caliber of actor behind it and a skilled writer/director at the helm, The Man Who Cried is nothing more than a showcase for some impressive-looking European locations and sets.

Christina Ricci stars as an early 20th century young woman who left her birthplace as a child, in the hopes of finding a better life in Paris. After an arduous journey, she arrives in the fabled city and quickly secures a job as a backup singer/actor with an opera company. There, she meets several quirky characters, including a prima donna singer (John Turturro), an experienced fellow actress (Cate Blanchett) and a mysterious gypsy performer (Johnny Depp). As war begins to break out, the troupe starts to fall apart and Ricci’s life is once again thrown into turmoil. Now, she’s faced with the choice of staying with the man she loves (Depp) or fleeing once again from trouble.

The Man Who Cried hits all the wrong notes right from the get-go and never relents. You’d think that a flick with this many talented people in front of the camera and an accomplished writer/director (Sally Potter, best known for Orlando and Tango – two movies which in no way sucked like this), you couldn’t possibly go wrong. But you’d be wrong, VERY wrong. Potter wants us to care about this heroine, but we’re never given a reason to. Her tumultuous trek from her war-torn birthplace to the Parisian landscape is admirable, but isn’t enough to make us want to spend an additional hour or so with this woman.

The real problem with the movie is that it’s just not interesting. Of course, the lack of a cohesive storyline doesn’t help, but Potter’s seems to be under the misapprehension that by merely taking these quirky characters and throwing them into a volatile situation, we’ll automatically become enthralled and captivated. Uh uh.

The performances are decent, I suppose, but anything’s better than the lame storyline and flaccid direction.

Audio: The Man Who Cried receives the usual stellar Universal treatment – not that it deserves it, really. This DD 5.1 soundtrack is surprisingly spacious and booming, with the early sequences featuring screaming peasants a good indication of this. Also, with the many instances of opera singing, the track handles those sequences just as well.

Video: Just as impressive is this 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. Outdoor scenes are bright and vivid, while the darker sequences are clear and smooth. There was no evidence of artifacting, which makes this a better transfer than the movie deserves.

Extras: You get some production notes and trailers (The Man Who Cried, Buffalo 66, Rat, Pavilion of Women, and Beautiful Creatures.

Conclusion: The Man Who Cried is just plain dull.


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