For the Moment [1993]

A pre-superstardom Russell Crowe brings enough leading-man wattage to this modest Canadian drama to light all of Manitoba. Set in the prairie country above Minnesota in 1942, For the Moment's wartime romance stars Crowe as Lachlan, a rakish Australian pilot signed on to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, which trains fliers for combat duty. With an average life expectancy of the program's graduates no more than six weeks, Lachlan wastes no time wooing the attractive and lonely Lill (Christianne Hirt), wife of a farmer-turned-soldier serving overseas. The two fall in love, and their touching if secretive affair serves as a counterpoint to a more public, and tender, romance between the town's prostitute and Lachlan's commanding officer. Writer-director Aaron Kim Johnston eschews bathos for a graceful, even stately, tone to his tale of loneliness and loss. The staggeringly charming, dashing Crowe, however, makes For the Moment compelling. --Tom Keogh

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