Top positive review
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My favorite movie of all time ...
on March 6, 2004
I first saw this movie when I was twelve and it was my favorite movie then. Thirty-seven years, and a lot of life experience later, it still is. When I first saw it, I took Mark Wallace's views on marriage very much to heart and found the difference between their early relationship and their subsequent marriage disturbing. Seeing it so many years later, I found all his anti-marriage rhetoric as a young man hitchhiking through Europe very amusing. American women "...want what their grandmothers wanted. Your head stuffed and mounted on the living room wall! And if you don't like it, you can take your lovin' self elsewhere." These lines and others are delivered within the classic framework of the man dedicated to preserving his freedom, and he keeps the anti-marriage line going throughout the film. Yet his devotion to the woman he decides to spend his life with is clear. Clearly, the single most touching scene for me was when Joanna returns from her affair with Maurice's brother-in-law, and Mark says, "You humiliate me. You humiliate me and then you come back." She nods. He reaches out and pulls her to him in a strong embrace and says, "Thank God!" in the most heartfelt way. There are so many scenes that I love ... the scene in which she first tells him that she loves him and he says, "I warn you." and she says, "Don't." Did Hepburn ever look lovelier than in that scene? Or when they are lying in bed the very first time and he says, "This is completely against my principles," and it turns out he's talking about sleeping in hotels, rather than outdoors in a sleeping bag.
I also like the part at the end where she says, "There'll never be anyone else in my life like you." When he asks if that's true she says, "I hope!"
The most revealing part of the movie for me, as an adult, was when Mark is walking out of the restaurant with his former girlfriend, Cathy Maxwell Manchester, who tells him that Howard is the "husband" type while he, Mark is the "lover" type.
I think the people who love this movie relate more to Joanna and Mark. They got together because of the intensity of their relationship. Those who hate the movie are more like Cathy and Howard. The "practical" aspects of a relationship are more important for them than the emotional ones. The message of the movie, I think, is despite the difficulties life throws you, it is ultimately more satisfying to cast your lot with the person you truly connect with.