Sunday, April 29, 2012

Casablanca 70th Anniversary Screening

This past Thursday, I was lucky enough to attend an encore screening of Casablanca on the big screen. Even though I've seen it several times on TV, I realized a few things about it while seeing it this time. What impressed me most about it is, more than anything, it's a human drama that anyone can relate to. I don't care who you are, at some point in your life you've lost someone you love perhaps more than anything, and although the memories may be happy the thought of that love can be very painful and can change you. In Rick's case, the loss of that love causes him to become a hard-hearted cynic towards the world. Of course, believing that the love of your life has left you for no seemingly good reason can understandably leave a person questioning a lot of things. For Ilsa, it's not so much a visible change as it is a deep pain that you can see she carries. The look on her face and how she reacts when Sam first plays "As Time Goes By" says it all. Once Ilsa finally reveals to Rick the reason she left, you can see him soften and you begin to realize that the redemption of their love is what the film is all about. Once redeemed, Rick is able to make the same self-sacrificing gesture that Ilsa once made, showing that they both truly love each other. 

There really is no other way that this could have ended and have it still be a classic, although I still wish deep down that Rick and Ilsa could have ended up together in some way. But perhaps that's what makes it a classic. The film is a wonderful, emotional journey with these characters that's tied up in the end, but you're still left feeling very deeply for them long after it's over.

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