November 30, 2014

Don't Settle: An Affair to Remember (1957)

 
There is just something about old Hollywood films. The way the writers could tell a story and the manner in which the actors delivered the lines with such believable emotion, make for a great viewing experience. It's no wonder film aficionados revere so many movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood....they ultimately set the tone for many of the movie styles and genres that we see today. Such is the case with one of my favorite classic films An Affair to Remember (1957), which not only set the tone for many modern day romantic comedies, but also helps remind us that we all should not settle, particularly with respect to matters of the heart.

In the movie, An Affair to Remember (1957), which stars Hollywood heavy weights Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr as two strangers, Nickie Ferrante and Terry McKay, who end up meeting and falling in love while on vacation from their lives on a cruise ship. Although there was an instant attraction between the two, it wasn't long before they realized that there was something deeper pulling them together. The only problem was they were both in serious relationships with other people.

From the first moment of their "meet cute," both Nickie and Terry had an instant connection with one another. They got along like old friends and were even able to finish each other's sentences, which didn't surprise either one of them at all. They were at home with each other and they knew it. So did Nickie's grandmother, Janou (Cathleen Nesbitt), who perhaps purposely lived long enough to give her little Nickie the blessings to be with his future wife. That fateful outing while the cruise ship was docked, revealed to both Nickie and Terry that there was a deep connection that was beyond physical attraction...they were falling in love. And, although they wanted to be together right away, they both knew that their individual circumstances required some time to maneuver so that they could ultimately be together.

By the end of the movie, their wish came true, though not without a few hiccups along the way. Since Terry didn't meet Nickie atop the Empire State building as planned six months after meeting on the cruise ship because she got hit by a car, Nickie tried to deal with her no show and attempted to move on despite wanting answers. We ultimately saw a great deal of growth in his character as he didn't revert back to his old womanizing ways to fill space and time, but rather continued to work on his painting, trying to forge a sustainable career for himself and to possibly support his future wife and family with Terry. She too was working on herself by forging a career as a music teacher and trying to heal so that maybe she could walk again before she saw Nickie again. As fate would have it, there was no such luck. Nickie found her before her plans could come to fruition and after a polite conversation in which they both tried nearly successfully to conceal the truth about what happened the day they were supposed to meet atop the Empire State building, Nickie eventually learned that Terry had become disabled and the two embraced, suggesting that they finally got together.

Although both Nickie and Terry could have easily gone back to their old ways of being kept by wealthier individuals, they couldn't deny that they were forever changed by meeting each other on the cruise ship. The likes of which not only made them realize that they were settling out of convenience, but that they truly weren't as happy as they wanted to be, something that they did find in each other. While this story is incredibly dramatic for cinematic purposes, I think the point still holds true for our everyday lives: don't settle. When you do choose happiness, you too could have the happy ending of a chick flick.

November 27, 2014

Don't Waste Time: One Day (2011)

We've all heard the saying, "youth is wasted on the young," is there a truer saying? Most young people tend to waste time either on things that don't matter or trying to figure things out because they think that time is on their side. But the truth is, none of us are promised tomorrow and if any of us do in fact wake up, and have our faculties, we should probably make the best of that time, fore the next day is not necessarily promised either. This is true whether you're talking about wasting time in a career that you're unhappy with or wasting your time with someone that you really don't love because you're too scared to be with the one person you are actually in love with. The latter is exactly what happened in the heartbreaking movie One Day (2011) and it just goes to show us all why not wasting time is so important.

In the movie One Day (2011), two former college mates, Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess), end up sharing their graduation night together, which then leads them to a life long friendship and eventual love affair for the ages. Although they vowed to only be friends on their graduation night, it was clear after spending the next day together that there was something more between the two, something longer lasting. Unfortunately, however, both of their cowardice in being upfront about their true feelings for one another ultimately delayed their life together for many years, leaving little to no time for a shared life before Emma's untimely death.

Throughout the bulk of the movie, we see both Emma, and particularly Dexter, each waste time doing work that they aren't passionate about as well as entertain relationships with obvious mismatched suitors. However, during all of their life trials and tribulations, Emma and Dexter always manage to remain in contact with each other and compare notes; never once not being a source of conscience or cheerleader for each other until Emma has enough of watching Dexter spiral downward into a bad way and decides to part ways with him for a couple years.

By the end of the movie, both Dexter and Emma were older and wiser, but it was only too late. Dexter, in particular, had lived what seemed like a thousand lives and finally landed on his feet in a career as a cafe owner while he managed co-parenting with his ex-wife before confessing his love to Emma. Emma, on the other hand, had finally come into her own, finally possessing the confidence she needed to pursue her writing career and a relationship with the one man that she had ever truly loved. Although their courtship and marriage was brief, their romance had truly began many years ago when they first met and despite all the years wasted in other fruitless relationships and a shallow career, Dexter ultimately realized that Emma was the love of his life and will forever remain a part of him even though she had passed on. While there was no Hollywood ending in this film, it was a heartbreaking reminder that time is precious and that whatever we're doing, if it's not what we want, then we should stop doing it right now because we could lose it all in one day.