An Affair to Remember
Made for romantics.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is an adult story, probably too dated to engage kids. Scenes dealing with Terry's shame over her injury and refusal to tell Nicky the truth are emotionally charged. Teens who enjoy classic romances and old movie stars may like this one.
A film in two parts with a big tonal shift
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What's the Story?
Playboy Nicky Ferrante (Cary Grant) falls in love with Terry McKay (Deborah Kerr) on a transatlantic journey. Both are engaged to others, and unequipped to support themselves. They make a vow to end their engagements, straighten out their lives, and meet in six months' time on top of the Empire State Building. Nicky starts painting, and becomes a modest success. Terry goes back to nightclub singing, and soon has a growing following. On the appointed day, they both head for the Empire State Building, but she's hit by a taxi. He waits faithfully, but she never arrives. Terry loses the use of her legs but is determined to persevere on her own. She never tells Nicky what happened because she doesn't want to be a burden to him. After a chance meeting at the theater, Nicky tracks her down and discovers the truth.
Is It Any Good?
AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER is both a sparkling romantic comedy and a four-hanky tearjerker. Throughout, Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr do their best to enliven the proceedings. Dedicated romance buffs may feel compelled to add this one to their "best love stories" list. But Affair loses its way when Terry McKay loses her mobility. Ample doses of schmaltzy music, overlong scenes featuring singing school kids, and Terry's noble suffering are a lethal combination, especially for young viewers most interested in finding out if Nicky will discover the truth about why Terry didn't meet him that day.
Writer and director Leo McCarey was certainly committed to his story -- he filmed it first in 1939 as Love Affair, and updated it for this 1957 release. Nicky and Terry's dilemma seems almost silly by contemporary standards, their monetary problems -- the fact that they are "kept" by their fiancées -- trivial in the face of such an enormous love. If they love each other so much, why not just be poor for a while and make a new life together?
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about their views of fate and destiny. Have you ever stayed away from someone you liked because you were ashamed of something about yourself? How would you have reacted in Nicky's place?
- In theaters: July 11, 1957
- On DVD or streaming: February 27, 1990
- Cast: Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Richard Denning
- Director: Leo McCarey
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Classic
- Run time: 119 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: April 1, 2022
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