A Walk in the Clouds ：漫步在云中
Reeves plays Paul Sutton, an American G.I. returning to San Francisco after the war's end in 1945 to a war bride (Debra Messing) he hardly knows. While on a train to Sacramento, he meets Victoria Aragon (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon), a Mexican-American literature student headed home to the family vineyard in the Napa Valley for the grape harvest. But Victoria has a problem: she is pregnant, unmarried, and fearful of the reaction of her very traditional father Alberto (Giancarlo Giannini). In an effort to help, Paul offers to pose as Victoria's husband for one night, then make a quick departure, providing a cover story for the pregnancy. Though Alberto makes Paul's life miserable, Paul finds it harder to leave than he expected, as he is drawn both to Victoria and to the sense of family he never had.
A Walk in the Clouds falls somewhere in the territory of a film like Legends of the Fall. Giancarlo Giannini is also quite good as the stubborn Alberto, who uses his sharp tongue to assert himself. The one thing A Walk in the Clouds has all over Legends of the Fall is that it doesn't take itself nearly as seriously. Anthony Quinn, as Aragon patriarch Don Pedro, hams it up almost as much as Anthony Hopkins did in Legends, but he knows it, and turns Don Pedro into a grand epicure who teaches Paul some amusing lessons. There is a wonderful sequence highlighting the war of wills between Paul and Alberto when the two men race each other to fill baskets of grapes during the harvest.
All this A Walk in the Clouds has going for it, yet it comes up surprisingly short as a love story, and it's not all Reeves' fault. His character is a nice guy with simple dreams, and that spells boring unless the actor involved can provide some shadings. There are times when Reeves delivers a line like "She is like the air to me" as though he were reading it off a cue card for the first time, and you just want to grab him around the neck in a well-intentioned but ultimately futile effort to wring some intonation out of his voice. Aitana Sanchez-Gijon is lovely, but there's not much interesting about her either, which presents the dilemma of a romance that's often hard to care much about. A Walk in the Clouds may not be the best romance around, but it has enough style and spark to cast its own unique spell.
Man's voice: I prefer to dine at home alone.
Betty: Paul? Paul!
Paul: When I didn't see you on the dock I thought--
Betty: I didn't know you were coming today.
Paul: Didn't you get my letters?
Betty: Oh, oh Paul, I started to read them, I did, but after the first few, I just couldn't bear to hear about all that fighting and the killing.
Paul: I wrote you almost every day.
Betty: I know. And I kept them. Look. See? Oh, Paul, even the thought of you in all that danger, it was just too much. I knew if I got them, you were still alive. That's all that I cared about-that, that you were alive...safe. That's all that was important to me. Can you forgive me?
Paul: Yeah, sure.
Betty: I wrote to you. You got those, right?
Paul: Got a few.
Betty: I told you I wasn't a big writer.
Man's voice: I quite agree the distinction is dubious. Don't you?
Betty: It's a course I'm taking. Self-improvement. His name's Armistead. He makes tons of money. The whole country's making money hand over fist. You've been away, out of touch. You don't know, but you will. I went to see Mr. Sweeney and make sure he held your job, like he promised. He said you could start the day you got back. "Rarely cared, just make sure you wear your uniform," he said. Who could resist a war hero? Of course I negotiated a raise.
Paul: Betty, I... I don't want to go back to selling chocolate.
Betty: You've got something better.
Paul: No...I don't. But, you know...in the war, I had time to think about what's important, about what I want out of life for me, for us. I wrote you all this in the letters.
Betty: Are we back to those old letters again? You want me to read the letters?
Paul: No. It's just you'd understand what I'm feeling, what I want.