LOVE AFFAIR is at least the third remake of the original 1939 LOVE
AFFAIR. Unlike SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE which was loosely based on the
original, this one shares most of the key story elements. SLEEPLESS IN
SEATTLE was technically based on AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957) which was
in turn based on LOVE AFFAIR (1939).
This LOVE AFFAIR is about a famous football player turned
announcer (Warren Beatty) and a waitress turned interior decorator,
singer and child care worker (Annette Bening). It features an
important cameo by Katherine Hepburn as the football announcer's aunt.
It has other smaller cameos as well such as Ray Charles singing a
classic Christmas song of his.
The best way to describe this movie, also written by Beatty, is
that it is first and foremost, a mood piece. The photography of Tahiti
interlaces the whole show as does the dominatingly loud music of the
30s. It leaves you with a sort of Bali High ambiance and the feeling
of having drunk a soothing cup of warm tea on a foggy evening.
The camerawork is spectacular. Watch Beatty and Bening walk
through the lush green fields of Tahiti with the fog encased mountains
as their backdrop. Watch the shadows on their faces on the front porch
in Tahiti. The whole show has the warm glow of a Renoir. As a
travelogue, as a tour de force in camerawork, and as a mood creator, it
Where the movie falls down is the story and the characters.
Beatty has a monotonic delivery style which makes it hard to believes
he really cares about anything. Bening is SO lovely to look at (OK,
OK, Beatty is not too bad looking either), but the lines she gives were
not convincing enough for me. Yes, in real life they are a devoted
couple, but the romance they displayed in this movie was not believable
or interesting. They did have a few memorable lines, but on the whole
it just did not click.
I am not a fan of cameo rules by actors approaching senility. Too
often the audience just ends up feeling sorry for the actors.
Hepburn's performance was an exception to this rule. Her part was
important, and she was good in it.
Copyright © 1994 Steve Rhodes