|Preparing for active duty in World War II, an Australian pilot-to-be
and his American flight instructor fall in love with a pair of Canadian
women whose husbands have already gone overseas. A poignant, surprisingly
hard-hitting romance. This World War II film follows two pilots -- an Australian
who's still in training and his American instructor -- who become smitten
with two women whose husbands are off fighting. A 1996 theatrical release
and international award winner.
Distributed by John Aaron Releasing, Inc.
Our WWII Movies site lists over 600 Films
the Brandon Sun frontpage feature:
FOR THE MOMENT, CROWE FLIES HIGH
Cast, crew share memories of Oscar nominee
by Diane Nelson
Brandon Sun ~ March 22, 2001
Director ~ Writer ~ Producer: Aaron Kim Johnston
Russell Crowe ~ Lachlan
Christianne Hirt ~ Lill
Wanda Cannon ~ Betsy
Scott Kraft ~ Zeek (nominated for a 1994 Genie for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role)
Peter Outerbridge ~ Johnny
Sara McMillan ~ Kate
Bruce Boa ~ Mr. Anderson
Katelynd Johnston ~ Marion
Tyler Woods ~ Charlie
John Bekavac ~ Dipper
Robert G. Slade ~ Scotty
Kelly Proctor ~ Dennis
Roxanne Boulianne ~ Anne
David Warburton ~ Commander Levin
Ari Cohen ~ Cecil
Glen Thompson ~ Nigel
Guy Stewart ~ Richard
Grant Dilworth ~ Navigation Instructor
Curtis Sali ~ Dipper's Cronie #1
Sean Bowie ~ Dipper's Cronie #2
Alistair Abell ~ Airman #1
Riel Langlois ~ Frenchie
Clement Nelson ~ Black Dancer
David Cowie ~ Controller
Steve James Young ~ New Zealander
Producers: Jack Clements ~ Aaron Kim Johnston
Co-producer: Joseph MacDonald ~ Ches Yetman
Original music: Victor Davies
Cinematography by Ian Elkin
Film Editing: Rita Roy
Casting: Anne Tait
Production Design by Andrew Deskin
Art Direction: James Phillips
Set Decoration: Ian Handford & Mark Andrew Webb
Costume Design: Charlotte Penner
Makeup: Pamela M. Athayde
Hair Stylist: Reginald LeBlanc
Production Manager: Peter Lhotka
Second Unit Director or Assistant Directors: Delanie Horner ~ Allan James ~ Elizabeth Jarvis
Sound Department: André Chaput ~ Bob Holbrook ~ Louis Hone ~ David Husby ~ Jean-Pierre Joutel ~ Andy Malcolm ~ Jacqueline Newell
Special Effects: Clifford Huot ~ Ted Ross
Other crew: Brian Barstead ~ Derek J. Baskerville ~ Neila Benson ~ Shelagh Carter ~ Mark Gebel ~ Grant Johnson ~ Ernie Kestler ~ Mario Klemens ~ Kevin Michael LeBlanc ~ Gregory K. Mciver ~ James Phillips ~ Jay Robertson ~ Greg Sheris ~
Production Companies: John Aaron Features II Inc.
Post-synchronisation: Pinewood Sound, Vancouver ~ Spectrum Films, Australia ~ Todd-AO, Los Angeles
Lighting: Luminaires Services, Winnipeg PS Production Services [uk]
Soundtracks for For the Moment
Written by Pachelbel
"Adagio" from the Oboe's Concerto in Re minor
Written by Marcello
Performed by Jiri Kakiak
Written by Johnny Mercer and Matty Malneck
"It's Only a Peper Moon"
Lyrics by Billy Rose and E.Y. Harsung
Music by Harold Arlen
Performed by Heather Davies (chorister)
Lyrics by Kim Kohnston and Victor Davies
Music by Victor Davies
FOR THE MOMENT
A Film Review by James Berardinelli
Nicely photographed and appealingly acted, For the Moment is a period piece melodrama that transpires during the summer of 1942. Set (and filmed) in Manitoba, Canada, where Allied bomber pilots came for instruction, the film chronicles the lives and loves of three airmen: Lachlan (Russell Crowe) and Johnny (Peter Outerbridge), a pair of young daredevils out to earn their wings, and Zeek (Scott Kraft), a grizzled veteran of two European tours of duty, who is their teacher. For the Moment is pure, tear-jerking formula, but, because writer/director/producer Aaron Kim Johnston conveys such affection for his characters, the final product is surprisingly effective.
Johnny's fiancee is Kate (Sara McMillan), a local girl. Kate's older sister, Lill (Christianne Hirt), is married to Frank -- by all accounts the perfect husband, except that he has been off to war for more than a year. Lill is lonely and vulnerable -- easy prey to Lachlan's infectious Aussie charm, even as he is smitten by her. Meanwhile, the dashing Zeek (Scott Kraft, who bears a passing resemblance to Gone with the Wind's Rhett) allows himself to become romantically entangled with the region's good-natured whore/bootlegger, Betsy (Wanda Cannon).
For much of the first half, For the Moment rigorously uses romantic cliches. The film is obvious, and occasionally clumsy, fleshing out characters and their relationships. There's never any doubt who's going to become involved with whom -- just how long its going to take the various parties to get together. It's only the effective chemistry between the various lovers that keeps us interested through the less-inspired moments. During the second half, however, the movie mixes in sentimentality and darker psychological overtones to attain a satisfying, if bittersweet, conclusion.
Russell Crowe (Proof, The Sum of Us) makes a wonderful romantic lead, blending charm, enthusiasm, good looks, and acting ability into his portrayal of Lachlan, who we're supposed to like, and do. In terms of talent, Crowe is far superior to anyone else in the cast, although most of his co-stars, including Christianne Hirt, make up for the deficiency with general likeability and appeal. And no one among the major players turns in a bad performance.
For the Moment says something about the ephemeral nature of human existence, the uncertainty of everyone's future, and the
longing we often experience for the "road not traveled." The film takes a little too long to tell the story, and there are several
superfluous, one-dimensional villains. Overall, however, For the Moment succeeds at what it wants to be: a weepy love story.
It's not an epic by any means, but it is pleasant, which isn't such a bad thing.
© 1996 James Berardinelli
BOX OFFICE MAGAZINE: ONLINE REVIEW
by Kim Williamson
"Life is always full of surprises," says Aussie airman Lachlan (Russell Crowe) as he nears the Canadian base at which he will commence his training to fly combat missions in World War II. "Especially with me at the controls." On the ground, he and flyboy pal Johnny (Peter Outerbridge) head out among the hayracks, where Johnny's farm-girl fiancee Kate (Sara McMillan) awaits. Waiting there is the first surprise: Lill (Christianne Hirt), a young married woman who is fighting the loneliness engendered by her husband being away to war. The second surprise is the troubled love that grows between the dashing Aussie and the pretty Canuck, one accustomed to playing the field and the other to faithfulness. Each knows, with the war also waiting for Lachlan, that their relationship is only "for the moment," but with so many lives being lost daily across the water even the momentary has become precious. Like another Far North import, 1993's far more exotic "Map of the Human Heart," For the Moment" makes a wartime romance its central story. Here, though, writer/director Aaron Kim Johnston ("The Last Winter") fashions a more homespun tale, but in classical dramatic fashion he adds a second subplot that (theoretically) comments on the first: Good-hearted pilot-school instructor Zeek (Scott Kraft) offers to marry a middle-aged prairie woman, Betsy (Wanda Cannon), whose no-good husband long ago left her to raise their two children alone. "I'm a woman with a history," Zeek is cautioned by Betsy, who is the woman that on-leave aviators go to when they're looking for booze and a broad. "I'm the one with a history," replies Zeek, pointing out that the bombs he'd dropped during his two tours of duty had killed hundreds of people. As the movie progresses, it sometimes seems to yearn to become their story, not only because that story exists independent of the main tale but also because Zeek and Betsy make for more complex characters; it's almost (but not quite) as if, being younger and prettier, Lahlan and Lill remain the focus because they're more photogenic. It doesn't help that Cannon's heart-rending work is the acting corps' highlight; her Betsy is good-willed and staunchly constituted, but a river of suffering runs deep in her. As Lachlan, Crowe--who rocketed to prominence with dynamic performances in "Proof" and "Romper Stomper"--offers a finely understated turn (similar to that of Tom Hanks in an analogous role in the 1986 Israeli film, "Every Time We Say Goodbye," in which outsider Hanks falls in love with a Sephardic Jewess.) However, TV actress Hirt, despite a cutely chunky beauty, rarely "fills the screen" the way a woman in despair should.Yet some scenes and their dialogue are electric with simple humanity. "We're running out of time, you know," Lachlan tells Lill. "We never really had any," she says. "We just stole it." And the denoument, in which Lill sees Lachlan for the last time, features what might be called the best woman-searching-for-her-lover-in-a-crowd moment since Diane Keaton waited near Warren Beatty's incoming train at the end of "Reds": Johnston places his camera motionless in front of Hirt's face, and her eyes sweep from side to side, yearning; with the added emotional impact of slow-motion photography and of Pachelbel's Canon on the soundtrack, her Lill seems imbrued with mournfulness, and in that moment she holds the screen indelibly. Still, "For the Moment," a movie about moments, is only made of them. As Lachlan's Havoc leaves the fertile plains of Manitoba behind as it flies out across Hudson Bay's cold gray waters headed toward England, audiences will have been taken with only fitful effectiveness back to 1942, among this century's darkest days. "There's no time left for dreams--we're almost out of night," Lill tells Lachlan as a dawn nears, and one wishes Johnston had been able to do even deeper dreaming before the house lights come up. -Kim Williamson
For the Moment ~ An April 19, 1996 Review
By STEPHEN HOLDEN
In the gorgeous opening scene of "For the Moment," two carefree young aviators hoot and holler as they glide their World War II aircraft over lush Canadian farmland in the province of Manitoba. It is early summer of 1942, and Lachlan (Russell Crowe), a young Australian adventurer, and his Canadian pal Johnny (Peter Outerbridge) are deliriously frisking in the sky to the ethereal strains on the soundtrack of Pachelbel's Canon.
The pair are volunteers in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, a crash course for World War II fighter pilots that drew 130,000 fliers from several countries to bases across Canada. This dashing international brigade brought a bounty of romantic opportunity to the hardy, clean-cut young farm women who lived in the region.
The film is a poignant high-toned soap opera about the intense, fleeting relationships between these women and the fliers, who, once they entered combat, would be lucky if they survived for six weeks.
With the exception of one racist bully and his sidekicks, almost everybody in the film exudes the shining sweetness and decency that has become something of a cliche in films remembering World War II. But the movie is so well acted that your heart goes out to characters whose mixture of bravery, innocence and native pluck makes them the embodiment of a sensible, uncloying niceness.
"For the Moment," which was written and directed by Aaron Kim Johnston, focuses on the romance between Lachlan and Lill (Christianne Hirt), the married sister of Johnny's sweetheart, Kate (Sara McMillan). Lill, whose husband has been away at war for two years, initially resists the gentle advances of Lachlan, a hardy poetry-spouting young pilot who drives around on a motorbike.
Their relationship is all the more touching because the film resists obvious heart-tugging devices. They approach each another with the care of two grown-ups who, while helplessly attracted to one another, are all too aware of the emotional stakes.
Lachlan and Lill's hesitant romance is contrasted with that of Betsy (Wanda Cannon) and Zeek (Scott Kraft), Lachlan's mustachioed flight instructor. Betsy, a lanky, ruddy-faced single mother of two squabbling children, has turned her farmhouse into a club where the young pilots come to drink her homemade liquor and to pay for her sexual favors. Talk about hearts of gold!
Although the local women try to shame Betsy out of her activities, she holds her head high, and Zeek understands. The movie is so intent on portraying her as a generous, free-spirited sexual pioneer that in one encounter near the end, it loses its stiff upper lip and suds come tumbling out.
"For the Moment" is better at portraying the intimacy of families and lovers than at telling a story. Suffice it to say that some people die, others depart for precarious futures and tears are shed. Each time the story takes a decisive turn, the film has a way of seeming mechanical until it has discharged its narrative duty and can return to the characters and their day-to-day emotional lives. The screenplay includes one too many verbalized reflections on living for the moment when the future holds such peril.
But don't be put off by these minor lapses. "For the Moment" satisfies a sweet tooth with such calm and intelligent deliberation that you won't leave feeling as though you have just indulged in a guilty pleasure.
Viewer reviews from the IMDB site:
I enjoyed every moment of this movie, even though I knew they could never really be together. With the life expectancy of a Bomber pilot being only six weeks, It made me feel for all of those women and men back in the 1940's who must have lived this story.
Russell, my fav, is gorgeous in this film. But more than that, the film covers a tremendous range of human passion and sorrow. Everything from marriage to homosexuality is addressed and respected. The film makes the viewer realize that tolerance of other humans provides the route to saving humanity. Fabulous love story between Lachlin and Lil. I replay their scenes over and over again. Anyone who has ever been in love will empathize with these people. All characters are cast and portrayed excellently.
This film takes you to another time when there was a different pace to everyday life. We get an idea how families had to deal with the war and how quickly we sent young men off to fight. A very touching look at the past and a reminder that casualties of war don't just happen on the front. Luckily many of us have never had to go through what our great-grandparents, grandparents or parents went through during a war. This film, I think, is a small treasure - thank you. Peter Outerbridge looks amazingly like a young Peter O'Toole and Russell Crowe is absolutely charming and as Australian as he can be. It's definitely worth listening to him recite "High Flight" and makes me wonder what he might accomplish with Shakespeare.
Average viewer rating: 7 1/2 stars out of 10
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