Friday, 19 April 2013

Same Time Next Year (1978) – ★★★★½

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Director: Robert Mulligan
Writers: Bernard Slade (screenplay and play)
Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Alan Alda

This movie just speaks to me. From the very first moment, when the piano begins to play, I get chills up my spine. The love and chemistry between the two main characters feels very genuine. This isn’t a perfect film, but it is one of my personal favorites. Anyone who gets emotional with romance’s better bring a box of tissues when seeing this movie. It is extremely funny, heart-wrenchingly sad, and one of the best romantic-comedies of all time.

It’s a story about a man and a woman who meet in a cafe’ and spend the night together in a whirlwind romance. The next morning, the two realize that they have fallen in love with one another. The problem is, they’re both married with children. Instead of leaving their families, or each other, they decide that they will meet on the same day every year to relive their night of passion. As the years go by, we see how times have changed from the 50s, 60s and 70s. It’s an extremely dramatic and nostalgic romance.

After seeing this film, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that Ellen Burstyn is one of the greatest actresses in movie history. Her versatility shines brightly in Same Time Next Year, playing a conflicted woman that is madly in love with a neurotic man. This is arguably her greatest role, along with Requiem for a Dream (2000) and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974). It’s my personal favorite performance she has played. This is definitely the greatest role Alan Alda has ever played. He is hilarious as usual, but at times we see such fragility in his character that it pains us, the audience, to see it. There is one scene where he breaks down and finally cries after a lifetime of being strong, which brought myself and the people with me to tears. He should have at least been nominated for an Oscar for this performance, which shows he is more than just a great comedic actor.

As the decades role by, the characters change their views and appearances. The one thing that never changes is their love and devotion to each other’s happiness. It reignites faith that everyone has a true love, a soulmate.

One can argue that they are not good people because they are committing adultry, however, I think they’ve sacrificed much just by agreeing to meet only once a year.
This film also has one of the greatest theme songs of all time called “The Last Time I Felt Like This.” It’s an absolutely beautiful song that suits the movie to perfection, I highly suggest you look up the original version.

These are two lovable, caring characters that I connected with emotionally. It may not be the same experience for everyone, but for The Movie Man, this will forever remain one of the greatest romantic comedies ever made.

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