LOVE AFFAIR (1939)

lalove affair 7
4 star| Dir: Leo McCarey

In what has spawned a multitude of remakes, rehashes and alternative perspectives, Love Affair in all its 1939 glory still passionately resounds as if the basic story were being told for the first time. Although the pink champagne has certainly been eclipsed by bubblier echoes such as Brief Encounter, Last Year at Marienbad and Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy, this simple love story of chance encounter has a wonderful pervasiveness that rarely fails to transport me to rapture.

The chemistry between Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer pulsates into your own heart as they deliver such astoundingly sweet, touching and purely enjoyable performances. For every second that they share the screen, you’re captivated in joy. In the second half of the film when our stars diverge from one another due to their wounded pride, there’s naturally a noticeable drop in interest which also highlights Boyer’s slight character outside of his charm and charisma, but as the famous conclusion approaches – surpassed in McCarey’s remake An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr – it’s easy to ignore the dull, melodramatic wait and revel in a relationship that speaks so endearingly to the romantic optimist in all of us.

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