Grant's portrayal of Nickie Ferrante is immaculate. He is suave and has a heart of gold (amid his hectic schedule of pursuing beautiful women, he accomodates his regular trips to meet his ageing grandma). This ace almost wins over beautiful Kerr, who he meets while on a cruise.
You witness Grant's sensitivity when he gifts his grandmother a painting of his grandfather (he is a dilletante in the arts). I find myself sitting up at this stage realising full well while earlier Kerr was thoroughly dismissive of Grant's flirtatious advances, this gracious gesture would turn the tables. She would have to weigh her feelings with more caution. You see the change in her eyes. The catch is that she is already engaged to a rich man who she, might we add, is not totally in love with. Gradually the two (Kerr and Grant) are drawn to each other. They profess their love for each other with utmost candour (the kissing sequence where you get to see only their feet, mind you!) and promise to severe all ties with their respective fiances to meet at a proposed date atop the Empire State Building. All is well before tragedy strikes. What? I'm not giving it away...you have to go through that yourself. But, trust me, this is one engaging script and you will find yourself drawn into this romantic vortex.
I've seen fews films starring Kerr (Quo Vadis, The King & I and the movie in question) and there is never an occassion when I'm not struck by her charm. She is spellbindingly beautiful and gracefully elegant. Girls, you have to see her wardrobe in the film, it'll make you gasp. She dresses smart and sharp during the day and is the cynosure of all eyes (in dresses and gowns) at dinners. What shine forth are her poise and charisma. Grant, who floors with his flamboyance, can't help but be attracted to this sparkling beauty.
There are various scenes that can choke you. Tell me how you feel when Grant and Kerr bid the old lady adieu. My peepers moisten. More tears when Kerr runs back to hug the warm old lady. (Too bad that we don't get to see the old lady again in the film.) This is what I call simplicity. The intensity in this simple farewell makes it all the more memorable. Great direction...
It's not just mush, this film. There is laughter, too. Especially when the two protagonists are gesturing to each other at the port. It's really funny how they try to appear normal while greeting their respective fiances when all they want is to gauge how they themselves score over their rivals. Grant's and Kerr's expressions surpass expectations. They are cheeky and mischievous as well as straight-faced and hilarious.
I admit that the film has a slow start. But once, the leads meet, sparks fly and you embark on an eventful trip of attraction, chemistry, separation and finally, union. Watch out for the lovely song picturised on the children in the film...
The end, I find, is predictable but the means to it is tension-ridden and heavy with turns. But in entirety, An Affair to Remember scores because of its heartfelt lovable plot and its rich cast. It is a love story that stays on in every lovesick heart.