The precursor to our modern romantic comedies, but man, did they have a better idea of how to create these back in 1940. I'm not even sure where to begin, there's so much to say about this movie, but perhaps the most important thing is this: This movie is fun. Pure, simple fun. I laughed out loud (watching it alone) more than once. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell are amazing.
In some ways, the plot could be considered the inverse of My Best Friend's Wedding, in that a guy wants to break up the impending nuptials of a woman he loves. The difference between the two, and why this movie isn't nearly as despicable as its descendent, is that Russell knows from the word go that Grant wants her back. Not only were they married at one time, but Grant doesn't hide his desire, as Julia Roberts does in her movie. It puts the two main characters on equal footing throughout the film and that makes all the difference.
Well, perhaps not all the difference, as we're also treated to a couple in a romantic comedy and neither one is portrayed as a horrible person. Well, I suppose Grant's character is actually a horrible person, but there's so much wit and charm on display that it's hard to hold it against him.
It's important to note two other things about this movie. First of all, there's a lot of plot going on here, aside from the rom-com angle. In fact, there's a rather tongue in cheek skewering of both journalists and politicians that would be worthy of its own movie, and fits nicely into this one. Second, the dialogue is amazing. This movie doesn't just move briskly, it all out sprints through its scenes, to the point where I almost felt tired after some of them, but in a satisfied and happy way. Aaron Sorkin has nothing on these scriptwriters, and the actors, while utilizing an acting style that definitely feels of its time, still do an amazing job delivering their lines, often at the same time as each other. I could have listened to these people talk for hours.
Just great stuff. Huge thanks to Julie for the recommendation!