A classic romance with a happy ending is this week’s classic woman-centric movie pick. Love Affair, starring Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne, was released in 1939 and was directed by Leo McCarey. It has been remade twice, the first time being An Affair to Remember in 1957 and the second being Love Affair in 1994.
The film chronicles the romance of French painter Michel Marnet (Boyer) and American singer Terry McKay (Dunne) that begins as they travel on a ship bound for Europe. Terry even spends time in Madeira with Michel, where she meets his grandmother, who is very taken with her. The pair, who are already engaged to other people, agree to meet in six months at the top of the Empire State building. Michel and Terry end their previous engagements during the six-month period. But fate has other plans for the pair. On the way to the Empire State Building, Terry is struck down by a car and left paralyzed. Michel, who is at the top of the Empire State Building waiting for her, has no idea of what has occurred, and assumes that Terry changed her mind.
The two encounter one another again at the theater, but Terry still hides her paralysis from Michel. Michel visits her at her apartment on Christmas Day, and once he discovers the truth, he tells Terry that he still loves her and that he wants to be with her, no matter what.
Love Affair is the archetypal love story because we get to see the progression of the romance between Terry and Michel. We see how they first start out as friends when they first board the ship and we bear witness to their growing attraction during the progress of the trip. We also bear witness to the tragedy that happens to Terry and to Michel’s love. Their reunion tugs at the heartstrings because each one still loved the other, even though Terry believed that she would become a burden to Michel because of her accident and paralysis. While life isn’t perfect, love can make it more bearable, and those who love you will support you even when things seem bleakest.