Head in the Clouds

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Head in the Clouds Movie Poster Image
This soapy saga is for adults only.
  • R
  • 2004
  • 133 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Violence

Battle violence, sexual violence, car crash.

Sex

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

Language

Very strong language.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking and smoking, characters get drunk.

What 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.

Talk to your kids 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

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