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For the Moment (1993)

While not all the early Russell Crowe pictures are instant classics, one common thread seems to run throughout each film, Russell's acting ability surpasses everyone else, and sometimes even surpasses the film.  Going into For the Moment I was looking to get back on track with a greater viewing experience as the last two films left me rather disappointed and bored.  Unfortunately For the Moment didn't "wow" me, but it did manage to offer a little more depth and talent than Hammers Over the Anvil and Love In Limbo.

For the Moment stars Russell Crowe as Lachlan, an Austrailian pilot in training stationed in Manitoba (Canada) in the summer of 1942 to receive training to become a bomber pilot.  This area happens to be the home town of his good friend Johnny, who introduces him to his girlfriend and her sister Lill (Christianne Hirt).  There seems to be an instant connection, at least on Lachlan's end, yet Lill is spoken for, she's married to a solider whose been gone for 2-3 years.  It's been 2-3 painful years for Lill and the arrival of Lachlan who appears to be a really nice and geniue guy starts to cause her to drop her guard as she finds herself falling in love with him.

For the Moment is a film that suffers from two opposite extremes.  The first half of the film is incredibly slow and uneventful, while the second half is over-the-top drama with nothing but dying, crying and goodbying (excuse my rhyming).  For anyone whose not a big Russell Crowe fan I could see where one might simply turn the film off twenty or so minutes in.  The story itself could have actually been something great, but it's simply too plodding and the acting is incredibly bland.  

The second half of the film, while completely over-the-top, actually begins to redeem the bland first half, the acting is still medicore and at times extremely corny but the dramatic elements bring out a better performance in Crowe and Hirt.  This second extreme saved the film in my eyes, but as a whole the story would have been greatly improved had the drama in the second half been spread throughout the entire film.  Doing so would have given the story a well spread balance and would have lent itself as a film that viewers who weren't simply watching for Russell Crowe might be interested in.



  1. did your version of the film have the lovely poem that russell recites, 'high flight' by john gillespie magee? "Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth; And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings"... very romantic, but the first copy of the film i got deleted that scene. probably the best scene of the entire film.
    i do love lachlan!

  2. @becks - yea I believe it was in the film, that was somewhere it the slow part, all my favorite scenes were in the second half.

  3. " common thread seems to run throughout each film, Russell's acting ability surpasses everyone else, and sometimes even surpasses the film" – you're absolutely spot-on, that's really what I love about Russell. Oh goodie, this one actually looks pretty decent especially for a Crowe fan like me, even if it's just to watch him go all mushy, even standing drenched in the rain with that longing look on his face! :)

  4. if you get a chance, watch it again, especially the first half. yes, i agree it's a bit slow-moving, but there are some very good moments. when lach and lill meet for the first time; lachlan meeting his next-cot-neighbor, scotty; when lach gets picked up in the early morning after the dance ('i'm freezing my tits off!'); at the dance; the scene with johnny, lachlan and zeke outside the dance when you think zeke is a bigot but surprises you (can you tell i've seen this a few times? lol). it grows on you, if you're willing to invest the time.
    i never understood why they went with christianne hurt as the leading lady; i thought her performance was mediocre at best, and i never got a feeling of warmth from her at all; but i suppose with a relatively low budget and an unknown cast, she was the best they could get. very pretty, but unremarkable.
    i'll be interested to see what you think of 'the silver brumby', which is next (russell has very few lines, but his horseback riding is extraordinary, and he did ALL of it); and especially 'the sum of us', one of my absolute favorite russell films and characters - the relationship between jeff and harry is lovely and heartbreaking, and russell plays a gay man very, very convincingly. now that's acting!

  5. @becks - it's definitely a film I'd be willing to give another view in the future. Overall I think a 7 would be the highest I'd go ratings wise though.

    I get your complaint about Hurt, at first I too thought it was poor casting, plus here she is Canadian and she's got a Southern accent! But as the film began to pick up the pace she actually started to grow on me, and I thought she did pretty good on the emotional parts. In some ways she kinda reminded me of Rachel McAdams, a poor man's Rachel McAdams but still she didn't end up doing too bad.

  6. My favourite part of Lachlan is the parting look he gives Lil at his passing out parade. Suddenly, and without a flicker of his face, he turns on his extraordinarily intense gaze - the one we will see later in Gladiator and other more high-profile films.

  7. For the Moment is one of my favorite movies of all time. When it ended, with Lachlin headed for his likely death as a bomber pilot in a force that was returning very few of its volunteers home alive after their 25-mission tours, I sobbed inconsolably for more than a half hour, overwhelmed by the realization that so many good men men like Lachlin and the others in the film had died in The War. Their lives cut short was more real to me than at any time before or since that night when I first watched this brilliantly-presented story.

    I am sorry, but the review and comments here did not put the spotlight on this film's point. The point of this film was that two innocent young souls fell into a love made taboo by Lil's hastily-arranged marriage as the lucky groom packed for Europe to do his duty more than two years before this moment occurred. Seems she barely knew the guy, but Lil was a loyal wife and Lachlin was a good man who normally would have steered clear of a married woman. But in that moment, in the early 1940s, chances were better than not that Lachlin would be dead soon, giving his life to a cause half way around the world from his home. Doing the right thing, not loving Lil, under these circumstances was a hell of a lot to expect, and that dilemma is what this movie was about. The development if Russ's fame is quite beside the point.

    What you saw as dull acting I saw as portraits of a simple, slower paced time than today.

    When Lil's affair was revealed, there was a deeply somber scene at the kitchen table, with Lil, her sister and father. They had just learned of a tragedy bigger than Lil's brush with passion. The girls' brother had been killed, evidently he was in the war already. The sister was damming Lil as if she were a sleeze, and as Lil defended herself with "you don't know what you are talking about!, and the sad but Dad, who had just lost his son, showed no sign of blame on Lil, saying, "I just feel sorry for all of you.

    The final scene, where Russell gives the looked mentioned above, Lil disappears as a passerby blocks Russ's view of Lil, for only a blink of the eye. And with that, the moment of love is over, replaced by the bigger moment hanging over them all, and a bomber is shown passing low overhead, suddenly painted in combat camoflauge instead of the training yellow we had been seeing in the movie up to this point, and we viewers are just that fast carried to the war with the pilots who just completed their training. The war is now the center of the scene and with that, the film is over.

    I am sorry this movie lacked the fizz you look for, but I think it was the right tone for the moment it was calling to our attention.


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