Feed the World, Fall in Love
If this movie had been made 60 years ago and had starred Orson Welles and Barbara Stanwyck or Tyrone Power and Katharine Hepburn, you’d stay up late into the night watching it on PBS or Turner Classic and sob your eyes out even though you know it’s corny and not very realistic. So don’t avoid it now just because Angelina Jolie’s lips are enormously distracting and she can’t really act and there’s something just a little creepy about two privileged Westerners falling in love in front of a backdrop of the world’s great humanitarian disasters.
Cuz there’s something sorta nicely old Hollywood in Beyond Borders, the sweep of star-
It works, partly, because the only corny stuff is the love story — if there’s perhaps something a wee bit condescending about using human suffering to set the stage for hackneyed Hollywood romance, it must be said that the human suffering is so powerfully depicted that it’s easy to see how the guilt of the well-off could fuel both a desire to help and a desire to fall into someone else’s arms and be saved from the horribleness of the world. When Jolie’s Sarah Jordan leaves comfortable, well-fed London, her first encounter with the grim reality of 1980’s North Africa — this is before Bob Geldorf asked us all to Feed the World — is witnessing a vulture stalking a baby nearly starved to death… and I have never been so glad to be able to identify a CGI creation as I was with that baby. You have to wonder whether director Martin Campbell (Vertical Limit, The Mask of Zorro) didn’t ask his FX people not to make the baby look too real lest it be entirely too distressing for us pudgy Americans munching on our popcorn.
Beyond Borders follows Sarah’s 10 years of journeying to Africa, Cambodia, and Chechnya, and Campbell and screenwriter Caspian Tredwell-
But here’s the major problem with Beyond Borders: Jolie herself. Bless her clearly well-
And that’s too bad. Because for all its problems, Beyond Borders still raises a lump in the throat and lingers rather hauntingly. If Owen had had a stronger leading lady, this could have been a minor classic of cornball Hollywood romance. As is, it’s just a better time at the movies than you’d expect.