Friday, January 9, 2009
Worthwhile Movie #2 - Dear Heart
Dear Heart (1963) is one of my absolute favorite movies for its good writing, excellent acting and insights into human character. From the first minutes of the movie, you know the heroine is a busy-body. It’s only as the movie unfolds that you see her behavior not as nosiness, but as a frank interest in people’s lives. She really cares about them. Evie Jackson is quirky with a capital “Q." Though not your typical love story, this is nevertheless a deeply satisfying movie. The hero and heroine are not drop-dead gorgeous (which increases their appeal to me). Even the hero’s name, Harry Mork, implies a totally non-Hollywood-ized character.
I think it is amazing that this film was made at the height of the sexual revolution and yet its main message is that sex and love are not the same thing. When a man propositions Evie at the Postmaster’s Convention, she tells him, "Sex is just one page in the book.” No one else in the film seems to agrees with her. Until she meets Harry. Though both of them have made their share of sinful mistakes, they have the decency to regret it and the guts to try over.
When Harry's fiancée (Angela Lansbury!) breezes into town and doesn’t even question the fact that he is spending time with Evie, he confronts her. She responds, “Harry, you’re a man and you’ll continue to be one. All I ask is that you don’t tell me about it. Happily, this laissez faire attitude is what brings Harry to his senses.
I have so many favorite quotes from this movie that I can’t list them all. At one point all the significant people in Harry’s life show their selfishness by going into their rooms and slamming the doors. He stands in the hall and yells, “You’ve got to come out and get mixed up with me. We’ve got to talk and we’ve got to fight and we’ve got to meddle in each other’s business until we forget about our own.” (Evie’s philosophy exactly!)
I wouldn’t call this a “family” movie because one of its central themes is sexuality, BUT it’s one of the best pro-marriage movies I’ve ever seen. I find it charming, funny and heart-breaking all at the same time.