“Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.”
The first line actually exists in the original film as well, but as spoken by Dunne (without the pun-worthy retort by her lover), it works — unlike here, where (despite valiant attempts by Kerr and Grant to “keep it real”) it’s simply groan-worthy. Indeed, much about An Affair to Remember reminds one of Douglas Sirk’s similarly overblown ’50s melodramas, but without the sassy heat; McCarey’s sentimental tendencies completely overwhelm this “affair”, as epitomized by the inclusion of two utterly gratuitous musical numbers involving a diverse group of moppets (er, children), both of which feel like they were taken straight out of McCarey’s Going My Way (1944) or The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945).
With that said, there’s a reason why this film remains such an enduring favorite: Kerr (always a consummate actress) and Grant have decent chemistry together, and one can’t help getting caught up in their romance simply given how neatly it represents one of our most entrenched fantasy scenarios — giving up “everything” (in this case, a current “good enough” lover, as well as easy wealth) for the sake of true love. I’m recommending AATR as must-see one-time viewing simply given its cult status, but it will only be of enduring interest to those who don’t mind their romances served with a heavy dose of manipulation.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)