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.

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