Does it get more wonderful than the beauty and elegance of the 1930’s? I’m clearly having an era crush right now. Throw in a torrid, doomed-from-the-start love affair and a stunning cast and I’m sold! That’s what makes The English Patient so wonderful (and, in the flashback scenes, so disturbing) – everything is too beautiful and too damned that it can’t possibly last forever, giving the whole film a painful and lovely glow. The Best Picture winner is definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you’re looking to escape into a passionate world for a few hours – and shed some tears, I definitely recommend it!
The film centers around Count Laszlo de Almásy (the eternally gorgeous Ralph Fiennes) and his affair with the beautiful Katherine Clifton (one of my favorites, Kristin Scott Thomas). She is married, he is a tortured soul ennobled by her love – you know the story. Watching their love and heat play out amidst the smoky and elegant world of 1930’s Egypt is an unsettling experience, made all the more intense by the intermittent flash-forwards to WWII and the destruction it inevitably brings to everything in its path.
I won’t ruin the whole movie, except to say that it made me cry, sob and immediately go searching for a bias-cut silk gown and ivory hair clip. The fashion is absolutely incredible, mainly courtesy of Katherine, with her breezy blouses, slinky dresses and perfectly curled hair. The Egyptian backdrop causes everyone to be overtaken by the heat at some point or another, so shirts are rarely fully buttoned – which, upon seeing this cast, is fine by me.