An Affair to Remember (McCarey, 1957)

An Affair to Remember floats along like few romance pictures do, a story of love long copied for it’s sincerity and honesty. Cary Grant stars as playboy Nickie Ferante traveling on an ocean liner to meet his new fiance in New York. Deborah Kerr plays Terry McKay, a lounge singer on her way to meet her love interest also in the Big Apple. Nickie and Terry meet by chance, then share a stunning and short time together filled with crackling chemistry and genuine emotion. These early scenes on the boat are magic and it’s incredibly sad to see them part. Agreeing to meet in six months atop the Empire State Building, Nickie and Terry set off to ditch their respective significant others and earn a living independently. The process is hard, but each is on the verge of success when chance rears it’s ugly head and Terry is unable to attend. Heartache follows for both Nickie and Terry, and it’s a sad affair indeed. Director Leo McCarey’s skill for pacing really comes into play during the second half of the film, cross cutting between both Nickie and Terry’s longing for the other. It’s amazing how the viewer wants them to be together just as much as they do themselves. A film like this doesn’t come around very often, a grand romance spectacle at it’s very best. An Affair to Remember might be the godfather of all romantic dramedy, it’s influence ranging from the brazenly commercial (Sleepless in Seattle) to the subdued art-house (Before Sunrise/Before Sunset). It’s a film which preaches patience, both in understanding life’s obstacles and epiphanies. By the end, we truly understand what Terry means when she states, “I feel bad for the people who have to survive the winter without warm memories.” An Affair to Remember exudes warm memories all around, it’s grace only outweighed by it’s dexterity toward creating cinematic love.

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