A Walk in the Clouds

This love story is a crock — but a gorgeous one. Keanu Reeves stars as Paul Sutton, a GI home from World War II to find a cheating wife (Debra Messing) and a stranger, Victoria Aragon (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon), who asks a favor. She wants him to accompany her to her family's vineyards in California and pretend to be the father of the baby she is carrying. Her daddy (Giancarlo Giannini) suspects a hoax, but by then, Paul and Victoria are truly in love.

In heat as well. As harvest time approaches, it's not just the vines that are bursting. Mexican director Alfonso Arau aims for the magical realism and hothouse eroticism that made his Like Water for Chocolate such a sensation on the art-film circuit. Unfortunately, the clunky, overripe English dialogue makes you long for subtitles or, simply, silence. Anthony Quinn doesn't know when to quit as the family patriarch. Take this walk for the appetizing scenery, which includes Reeves and Sanchez-Gijon. The rest deserves squashing.

From The Archives Issue 202: December 8, 1975