The Man Who Cried

Director/Writer:Sally Potter
Universal Focus; R; 100 minutes
Cast:Christina Ricci, Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett

A breathtaking World War II epic with a top-notch cast that touches down in England, France, and the United States sounds like a perfect alternative to the heavy-duty bombast of Pearl Harbor. This seems to be what The Man Who Cried wants to offer. Yet the lack of direction begins with the title: the movie charts the course of Russian immigrant Suzie (Christina Ricci) fleeing various hardships across history's ravages; the title character is a sort of quaint afterthought who only pops up in the last few minutes.

Suzie's native village is raided, prompting the young woman's relocation to England. She eventually finds work as a Parisian showgirl. The wary outsider rooms with the glamorous Lola (Cate Blanchett) and becomes involved with an alluring gypsy (Johnny Depp, reprising his Chocolat character). Also on the scene is arrogant opera singer Dante (John Turturro) and the slowly encroaching Nazi party. The elements are ripe for a good story, but writer-director Sally Potter spoils the movie with a scattershot script. Apart from lovely cinematography, lively Roma music, and camera-ready stars, The Man Who Cried lacks a real purpose. The film wanders like Suzie, losing credibility and the audience's interest along the way.