Sunday, July 19, 2009

Love Affair (1994) [PG-13] *****

This is a wonderful romance. It's also a beautiful expression of Warren Beatty's love for Annette Bening. Beatty plays Mike Gambril, an aging sports figure and playboy, who admits that he's never been faithful to anyone. Bening plays Terry McKay, a singer and teacher. They meet on a flight to Sydney that is forced to land on a remote South Pacific atoll. By chance they are near the Tahitian island of Moorea, one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Mike's aunt Ginny, played by the legendary Katharine Hepburn, lives on Moorea, and Mike takes Terry to visit her.

The film's first pivotal scene takes place between Ginny and Terry. The two women are talking about people in general, and Mike in particular, and comparing them to swans, which are unremittingly faithful and ducks, which are not only promiscuous, but terribly indiscreet. Ginny suggests that while Mike appears to be a duck, he may be the ugly duckling that doesn't realize he is a swan. It is this observation that causes Terry to think about the possibility that Mike could be faithful to her, and worthy of her love, and encourages her to take a chance on him. It isn't much of a stretch to think that Bening could have gone through the same thought process when considering Beatty as a husband. This is a movie with many lessons to teach. The casting is great. Katharine Hepburn is terrific and Annette Bening is radiant. The soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful.

Labels: comedy, drama, romance
Internet Movie Database
Tomatometer (critics=31, viewers=69)