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Overall Rating

Awesome: 33.33%
Worth A Look61.11%
Average: 5.56%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 12 user ratings

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Affair to Remember, An
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by MP Bartley

"Nora Ephron and your like, take note: a romantic comedy, that works."
4 stars

There probably isn't a greater dying breed in Hollywood at the minute than the romantic comedy. If it isn't loaded down with saccharine and the unbearably cute Meg Ryan making eyes at Tom Hanks, then it features fart jokes, 'wacky' ethnic sidekicks or Ben Stiller dancing. So just look at how they did it back in the 50's: they made them romantic AND funny. Who'd have thought it?

Cary Grant is Nickie Ferrante, a renowned playboy who's taking a Mediterranean cruise before finally, and grumpily, settling down with his fiance who's waiting back home patiently. While on the cruise he meets Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr), who is much in the same position - about to settle down into a relationship, but having one last breath of fresh, free air. The sparks between them are obvious, even Nickie's grandmother, Janou, can see it, but it does raise the possibility of scandal for the pair of them if they're sighted together on the ship. So what to do? Why, nothing as tacky as having an affair for these two, they instead make a date for 6 months time, giving them plenty of time to break off their relative engagements. But as we all know, true love doesn't run smoothly, least of all in Hollywood.

Updating the old classic 'Love Affair', writer/director Leo McCarey displays a lightness of touch that seems to have deserted modern Hollywood. The two aren't thrown together by a pratfall, or some wacky contrivance, the screenplay's much stronger than that. They're just drawn together naturally and McCarey lets the relationship breath and develop at its own speed.

There's no c-c-c-crazy incidents here to make them fall slowly in love, just a refreshing adult relationship of two people blatantly right for each other that's unforced and all the better for it. Of course, McCarey's zingy script helps. Recalling the best of the 40's screwball comedies, the script crackles with wit and energy and propels the first half of the film along with energy and colour.

And when you've got Cary Grant dishing out your lines, then even better. A perfect blend of charm and resigned cynicism, Grant can work his way around any punch-line and wrings out every laugh from a subtle script. Kerr is also great in her part.

I'm a firm believer that women still have it tougher in Hollywood, particularly when it comes to being remembered - we could all name a good 6 or 7 actors from the 50's, but when it comes to actresses they seem to have been forgotten. A true shame as Kerr is bewitching here, going toe-to-toe with Grant and holding her own throughout. Kerr has more comic timing and skill in this one film, than a Kate Hudson or Hilary Duff has shown in ten.

But if the first half of the film fizzes like champagne, then the second goes slightly flat, as melodrama rears its ugly head. It's necessary to create an obstacle in the path of their relationship, but you're acutely aware that the laughs have dried up and you do get fidgety for Grant to get back to his wise-cracking best. Despite this falter however, McCarey does get it back on track to ensure that the ending is one genuinely romantic and genuinely moving.

Altogether now: awww...

A forgotten footnote on the list of romantic comedies, 'An Affair to Remember' is one that should be remembered. Although easy to dismiss as a creaky old film with stars from a time when Hollywood was less 'sophisticated', it would be criminal to ignore Grant's performance and his chemistry with Kerr. It's an adult treat for those who think their relationships are about more than falling over, irritable bowel syndrome and comical animals.

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originally posted: 01/25/05 02:57:40
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User Comments

3/03/08 ladavies The best dialog. Makes me cry everytime. 5 stars
12/15/07 Pamela White One for the ages, romance on the sly 5 stars
8/08/06 Bea good but somekind of boring 4 stars
9/12/05 Kate I love this movie and I agree that modern "romantic comedies" lack the sparkle of this film 4 stars
3/26/05 Denise good 4 stars
2/22/05 Captain Craig A chic movie...sure, but classic fiflm making at it best 5 stars
2/01/05 tatum Don't forget this is one funny film as well 5 stars
1/29/05 Carolyn Rathburn Loved every minute of it. This is what movies should be about, Love and Happpy endings. 5 stars
2/25/04 john a soap opera? well yes but an effective one with Cary Grant!! 4 stars
1/18/03 R.W. Welch Both leads are strong but the script is a blatant tearjerker. 3 stars
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  11-Jul-1957 (NR)
  DVD: 07-Mar-2000



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