‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.’
Gosh, I dunno. I don’t know about that. I STILL struggle to reconcile that philosophy with my heart. Movies, you see, already have it alllll figured out. And since I willingly admit movies are smarter than me, the least I can do is pay attention and learn from them.
My good Capricorn friend asked me…
As a Capricorn, I can’t duck this, so here I am. I love happy endings and I believe ‘Love Conquers All’. At least I want to believe. But, heart breakingly, sometimes it does not. I guess these movies could only end one way, the way they do. I think for the generation before mine, their word was their bond. My generation ( may be moreso the one after mine ) is more adamant about one’s “Rights” – their individual rights, than doing “what’s right.” ( Feel free to disagree. ) With the “Great Generation” duty and responsibility trumps love. One played the hand that’s dealt them. Have these couples simply walked AWAY from love?
Let me look at “Casablanca” “Brief Encounter” and “Roman Holiday.”
“CASABLANCA” ( 1942 )
When his ex-lover walks into his gin joint, the world turns upside down, he falls to pieces, and a piano’s refrain haunts filmgoers for decades to come. Could it be the heart grows fonder when the break-up is bad… unexplained? A rain-soaked “Dear John” letter is Rick’s last memory of love and Ilsa’s got a lotta ‘splaining to do.
Before they can get back together, recriminations must be thrown around. But here’s the thing, their love is rekindled. Actually it never left. Is it genuine? Is Ilsa just playing up to Rick for the papers? No. She might love her husband…feel a duty …an obligation to him ( he’s a Resistance, freedom fighting POW-escapee. ) We see she’s really in love with Rick, so he’s got to think for the both of them. In fact, he’s got to think beyond the both of them; the world’s at war for goodness sakes and everything, even love, is rationed.
But how can he compete opposite a husband who has given his life towards a Cause? Rick has his sense of duty awakened that’s been buried deep by a broken heart, the spin of a roulette wheel and some casual flings with French cutie pies. He’ll give Ilsa the papers, but it’s best for the world if she goes with Victor Laszlo. Rick can have the memory of Paris, and this one night in Casablanca. I’m not 100% sure Ilsa can make do with just this, but she gets on that plane. The scene in the airport where they part is iconic…sad…bittersweet. Love…denied for the greater good.
Next: “BRIEF ENCOUNTER” ………..