Time: 121 mins.
Academy Award nominations for Best Sound and Best Sound Effects Editing.
SYNOPSIS: A medieval pickpocket finds himself thrust into the middle of a tragic romance that forces him to help the couple find release from the curse that keeps them apart.
BOTTOM LINE: This film is one of my all-time favorite romances. It's got true love, comedy, suspense, heartbreak, mystery and a pure evil nemesis to the lovers' future. Starring both an up-and-coming Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Broderick, it's a film that captures the imagination and stirs the heart. The film takes place in medieval times, casting Broderick as a pickpocket who gets dragged into the fate of the lovers, who are together yet separated by a curse placed on them by a bishop who's lust and jealousy is uncontrollable, yet obviously unrequited. By day, Isabeau (Pfeiffer) takes the form of a hawk and Navarre (Hauer), her lover, protects her, by night she regains her human form, while Navarre takes shape as a wolf. They see each other only fleetingly at sunrise and sunset, as they shift into their alter egos. It is a painful existance that seems to have no end.
The only way for the curse to be broken is for the Bishop, who began this unholy mess, to see them both together as humans. Believing this will never happen – how can it ever be day and night at the same time? – Navarre is on a quest to kill the bishop, no matter what the consequences. The Mouse (Broderick) and the Priest (John Wood), an old friend of the couple, come up with a plan to save them from their awful fate and finally reunite them, while providing the film with much needed comic relief. Leo McKern is brilliant as the lustful bishop. The way he looks at Pfeiffer will make your skin crawl. His desire is so palpable it helps make the story, and his curse, more believable. I know the plot sounds ridiculous, but it's not as silly as it sounds, mostly because the actors make you believe every second. Sure, the ending is no big surprise, but that's not what this romantic fantasy is all about. It's about love triumphing over evil and it does that in a very entertaining, exciting and lovely way. A magical treat that touches the heart.