For the Moment

For the Moment, a domestic drama on a larger canvas, presents a showdown between extramarital romance and family loyalty during the Second World War. Written and directed by Winnipeg-based film-maker Aaron Kim Johnston (The Last Winter), it is set in a prairie farm community during the 1940's. And it bears a striking resemblance to Bye Bye Blues, Alberta-born director Anne Wheeler's 1989 movie about a woman who falls for a handsome stranger while her husband is off at war. Like Wheeler, For the Moment's Winnipeg-based writer-director has based his story on the experiences of his own parents. But while Wheeler shyly left the romance in Bye Bye Blues unrequited, Johnston at least allows his characters to get it on.

Christianne Hirt (Lonesome Dove) plays Lill, a vivacious farm wife who is pursued by Lachlan (Russell Crowe), a debonair Australian flyboy taking part in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. While he courts her with picnics and poetry readings, his pal Johnny (Peter Outerbridge) gets engaged to Lill's sister, Kate (Sara McMillan). In yet another story line, an American flying instructor (Scott Kraft) woos Betsy (Wanda Cannon), a prostitute.

Hirt and Crowe bring an engaging chemistry to the movie's central romance, once it gets off the ground. Cannon, who received a Genie nomination for her role, creates a resilient character that avoids the usual cliches. But her subplot takes a soap-opera turn. And armed with a reverent sense of historical mission, the script tries to cover too many bases, spelling out philosophical truths about the subtlety of sky-writing. Pleasant but predictable, For the Moment offers only fleeting pleasures.

Brian D. Johnson

Maclean's--November 28, 1994

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