Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Love and Hate in the Afternoon

As I was watching Love in the Afternoon, a miserable 1957 movie shockingly directed by Billy Wilder, I wanted to scream. My blood was just boiling. I absolutely hated this film. I have so many problems with it that I do not know where to begin. First of all, it is way too long. Two hours and ten minutes for that story? And Gary Cooper is horribly miscast. He is so wrong for that part. For one thing, he is far too old, not even just in relation to Hepburn, but he just looks old and haggard and decrepit. I found it really hard to accept that Audrey Hepburn would be in love with him, but I give her credit. To be able to convince me that Ariane loves him – that takes talent. Plus, he is just about the most unsexy person ever in this film. I never really found him attractive as a younger actor, but he was tolerable. In this film, I find it hard to believe that he breaks hearts all over the world, but I guess money does wonders for a person’s appeal. He is not suave or dashing or even particularly nice. I also wondered why the character of Michel was even in the film. I desperately wanted her to end up with him instead, but of course, Hollywood would not have it that way. Also, her father had investigated Frank’s seedy affairs for years and knew he was a huge scumbag. All of a sudden, he condones Frank’s relationship with his daughter? What decent father would do that?

This film is so disgusting, misogynistic, and just plain awful. Usually, I am not too sensitive about these older films that tend to put women down, but this one seriously offended me. As a woman, I want to puke. I just wanted to punch Ariane in the face for how she was acting. Being attracted to the “bad boy” is one thing, but it is something else entirely when you have to pretend you are a whore just to get his attention. That is just nauseating. She manipulates him into caring about her by telling him about all of the men she has been with. There have been so many of them, after all, that a girl simply loses count. Ariane completely degrades herself by sinking to that level and proves that she has no pride whatsoever. If I cannot get a man to love me, naturally the only solution is to say, “Hey, honey, I’m a whore. Ask me how.” How are jealousy and deception the foundation for a solid relationship? Ariane is such a weak, pathetic character. Why would she want a man like that? First, he is a huge male slut. Second, he only pays attention to her after she talks about what a big slut she is. No self-respecting woman would want to get a man that way. The worst part is the ending. As the train starts to pull away, she runs after it, tears in her eyes, STILL talking about all of her various conquests and the men who are waiting for her. Then he pulls her up onto the train, and they live happily ever after. For crying out loud, Ariane, go be with the sweet and faithful Michel! He loves you the way you are. With Frank, she is constantly pretending to be someone she is not. This film is a personal insult to all women. That being said, I think Hepburn does a great job and is very cute. Even during that horrible scene at the train, she looks so heartbroken and desperate that I want to cry for her, even while loathing the character. But even she cannot save this travesty of a film. In fact, I just want to forget I ever saw it.

Rating: * (out of 5)

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