Head in the Clouds Movie Poster Image

Head in the Clouds



This soapy saga is for adults only.
  • Review Date: November 28, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 133 minutes

What parents need to know


Battle violence, sexual violence, car crash.


Very explicit sexual references and situations including multiple partners, same-sex partners, nudity.


Very strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking, characters get drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has extremely explicit sexual references and situations, including orgies, promiscuity, sadism, and same-sex relationships. Characters drink, smoke, and use very strong language. The movie has battle and other wartime violence, torture, and sexual violence. Characters are injured and killed.

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What's the story?

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS follows a love triangle that lasts through the turbulent decades of Europe from the roaring '20s through World War II. Glamorous heiress Gilda (Charlize Theron) lives for pleasure. Shy and serious Cambridge student Guy (Stuart Townsend) is dazzled by her beauty, honesty, and free-spirit. She is drawn to him, but does not let herself get too close to him and only allows brief, passionate encounters. While Gilda thinks that the misery and injustice all around them is all the more reason to enjoy everything they can, Guy believes he's obligated to fight for freedom. Guy quits his teaching job in England to live as a bohemian photographer in Paris with Gilda. She has taken in Spanish dancer and nurse-in-training Mia (Penelope Cruz). The sweep of passion and history bring the three together and separate them, as Guy and Mia go off to fight in the Spanish Civil War and Guy returns to find Gilda living with a Nazi officer.

Is it any good?


Head in the Clouds is a soapy saga of love, war, and many, many hairstyles. Even with all of the passion and sweep and the star power of its actors, the movie feels as pre-determined as its main character's fatalistic outlook.

The scenes are filled with themes and historical events of great power, and yet they never pulse with life. Gilda is a fantasy madonna/whore figure, and the characters' petty problems and debates, intended to illuminate what is going on around them, are a distraction instead.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their own views on determinism vs. free will and how we decide when to become involved in others' fights for freedom.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 17, 2004
DVD release date:January 25, 2005
Cast:Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, Stuart Townsend
Director:John Duigan
Studio:Sony Pictures
Run time:133 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexuality, nudity and some violence

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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