Top positive review
102 people found this helpful
Gentle and Romantic
on 11 January 2003
There is a romantic glow to this very undervalued film. It is a throwback to films of the 40's and 50's. Robert DeNiro and Meryl Streep give old style performances to match the story's atmosphere, which is sweet and sentimental. It does not make light of the subject matter of having an affair but instead is a film about finding love itself. In keeping with that theme there is no sex in this film. The love that gently blossoms is one of the heart.
Frank Raftis (DeNiro) and Molly Gilmore (Streep) are going about their mundane if uninspiring lives amidst the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season in New York when they literally run into each other at a bookshop. Both are married and when they meet again on the train both are taking to work, a friendship begins. Even the small prospect of riding to work together is handled gingerly as both are good people who would not want to hurt their spouses.
As they become more dependent on each other the moral dilema escalates. There are charming scenes as each almost misses the train, and the chance to talk. Her father is sick and her response is to call him. It is the little things that separate this film from others. Frank and Molly fall in love for the reason we all do; because of how we feel about ourselves when we are with that person.
When they finally can not stand it anymore they have a clumsy, and aborted, attempt at making love. Both DeNiro and Streep are wonderful at capturing the moral dilema of two people already married who have found the love of their life. Dianne Wiest has a nice turn as Molly's best friend Isabelle and Harvey Keitel as DeNiro's pal Ed is engaging. Jane Kaczmarek, of television's 'Malcolm in the Middle' fame, gives a nice performance as Franks's wife Ann.
This film begins at Christmas and ends at Christmas a year later. It is a sweet and charming film about falling in love and finding happiness. Dave Grusin helps the atmosphere with a nice score that perfectly captures the sweet exhilaration and anguish of Frank and Molly's love. If you enjoy films like 'An Affair to Remember' then chances are you'll love this one also. It's a nice film to own.