OVER WATER, they drift in and out of elegant exchanges, two stars so stellar, the scenes almost dip when they're apart. Up on a cliff they share their highs. On land, a separate groundedness. And you know the holiday's over, but you watch and wait anyway until they are together again.
At one point a favorite film, I watched the movie many times as a child, marveling at its share of that old world glamor I could never get enough of. Today, the movie is much simpler than I remember. Much less sensational, much more refined. Where I would fixate on Nickie's fashionable fiancée, I now possess little interest in her lack of dimension. Where I'd swoon over scenes of Mediterranean ports, I now feel more moved by its resident widow, than by its idyllic views. Where I'd be frustrated with Terry's concealment of crucial events, I now recognize her reasons.
And yet some things remain unchanged. Cary Grant still charms me. The ending still makes me cry. In giving that same feeling after two, ten, twenty or thirty times, lies the magic of our favorite romantic movies. However evolved our taste in romance, those feelings, they mark affinity. And on chilly days, in February or otherwise, they succeed in warming the heart.
An Affair to Remember, 1957. Directed by Leo McCarey.