A Walk in the Clouds

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
A Walk in the Clouds Movie Poster Image
Unplanned pregnancy leads to family lies, surprise romance.
  • PG-13
  • 1995
  • 102 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

The importance of family and family traditions can't be underestimated; striving together as a family unit provides a rich and wonderful environment. Lying, even for the most unselfish reasons, doesn't work; honesty is always best. Generosity and loyalty are rewarded.

Positive role models & representations

The hero is brave, honest, loyal, smart, and willling to sacrifice his own happiness in order to do what he feels is right. The heroine is wise and loyal and struggles for independence, at the same time trying to  make amends for prior mistakes. The parents and grandparents are depicted as unselfish and loving, even if a bit too overprotective.

Violence

Mostly generic wartime footage: shots fired, explosions, fireballs. There are several sequences set in the aftermath of the bombing of an orphanage, including a few very brief shots of dead children. Other action includes: a fist fight on a bus, and a raging fire that burns a vineyard and some of its outbuildings.

Sex

An unmarried pregnant woman is at the center of this film. Numerous scenes show lingering kisses and embracing, both warm and passionate. Sensual dancing and costumes, though no nudity.

Language

"What the hell" and  "son of a bitch" are both uttered.

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Much of this film is set in a vineyard. Grapes are harvested; wine is tasted. There are two scenes in which principal characters drink to excess and get drunk: one of these scenes is celebratory, the other is based on frustration and anger.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is about an unmarried, pregnant young woman and her efforts to avoid telling the truth to her very traditional family. While there are no overtly sexual scenes and no nudity, there are numerous lush sequences showing long, sensual kisses and embraces between both married and unmarried couples. Integrated throughout the film are flashbacks to a European war zone with explosions, shooting, bombing, and some attention paid to the destruction of an orphanage with brief visuals of children who were victims. Other action sequences include a rampaging fire which destroys a beautiful vineyard, and a fistfight that occurs on a bus. The movie takes place in a California vineyard and the production and drinking of wine are important to the story. In two scenes leading characters purposefully get drunk.

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What's the story?

It's 1945, World War II has ended, and Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves) comes home. His hasty wartime marriage isn't what he'd hoped for. When he meets the beautiful Victoria Aragon (Aintana Sanchez-Gijon) unmarried, pregnant, and terrified of returning to her family vineyard to reveal her predicament, Paul is smitten. He offers to help, willing to masquerade as her husband and join her at the vineyard just long enough to establish her as "married" then pretend to leave her callously behind. Reluctantly but gratefully, Victoria agrees. However, the lifestyle and generous, passionate personality of the Aragon family draw Paul in from the moment he arrives. The major obstacles to the successful execution of the young couple's scheme is their growing attachment to one another and her father's (Giancarlo Giannini) outrage at Victoria and her unexpected "marriage."

Is it any good?

A Walk in the Clouds is visually spectacular. It regales the senses with rich, lush shots of the vineyard and its countryside; glowing orange skies; sensual dancing; sumptuous sets and costumes; the dashing good looks of Mr. Reeves and the delicate beauty of Aitana Sanchez-Gijon. It's pure fairy tale. Its characters and situations are no more real than in any such story. The outcome is never in doubt, but the journey is gentle, beautiful, and very romantic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's 1945 setting. How is Victoria's family different from families today? Do you think parents are as protective of their children today?

  • Look up the term "magical realism" and its roots in the literature of Latin America. How did the filmmakers bring this unique way of telling a story to this movie? What techniques did they use?

  • How did Paul's wartime experiences affect his life and his relationships afterward?

  • Describe the ways in which Paul is "princely" and "heroic." What other elements does this movie have in common with fairy tales?

Movie details

For kids who love romance

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