Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca (1942) and Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) are widely known romantic films that have reached a high level of success in their eras. Although filmed more than 5 decades apart, these two films have a similar story, revolving around true love and love lost. In Casablanca the true love is between a local night club owner named Rick and his ex-lover who abandoned him in Paris named Ilsa. In Crazy, Stupid, Love. The love is between the main character Cal and his wife Emily who left him for another man. At the end of Casablanca Rick and Ilsa, who have reconciled, must for the sake of duty part ways, maybe never seeing each other again. In Crazy, Stupid, Love. Cal and Emily work out some of their problems and decide to give it another try. Both films represent the romance genre and find a place within the genre where they are both held in high regard.
Casablanca serves as one of the greatest love stories of all time and is considered one of the best romantic films of all time. What made the film so great was the true love between Rick and Ilsa. Rick and Ilsa met in Paris before the war started and developed a fiery love for each other. Ilsa left Rick without a notice when she heard that her husband who she thought was dead was actually alive. This heartbreak crushed Rick and is the reason he is bitter through most of the film. Rick’s feelings toward Ilsa in Paris are so strong he would have moved across the world for her, but her departure breaks his heart into a million pieces. This crushing heartbreak is enough to send Rick into bitter depression. When Rick meets up again with Ilsa in Casablanca, he initially does not show any interest in her. Rick even refuses to help Ilsa and her husband escape even though he has the sought after travel pass. Rick is jubilated when Ilsa finally reveals why she left and that she still loves him and feelings of happiness and love come back to him. This is short lived because he knows that if he truly loves her he has to let her go. Rick, being the chivalrous man he is forces Ilsa to leave so she does not end up regretting her decision. Rick sends her away with the famous line “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” For someone to love someone so much that they would rather have them leave is almost incomprehensible to the average man. Rick’s love is the truest form of love because he would rather see her leave then hold her back from her duty. In this way the story is a somewhat tragic romance because the lovers are separated indefinitely at the end of the film.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. Is a much more recent film then Casablanca, and it does not involve Nazis, war, or an exotic location, but it is still a romance. At the beginning of the film the main character, Cal, goes out on a dinner date with his wife. Cal is a sad man who after year of stress, work, and raising a family has burnt himself out emotionally. He glides through his life like a ghost not really taking the time to enjoy any of the special moments he has. His wife, Emily, on the other hand is sick and tired of what Cal has become and at their dinner date she asks him for a divorce. This pushes Cal down emotionally to the point of rock bottom. When Emily tells him that she has been having an affair, Cal jumps from the car because it is too much too handle. At this point Cal has hit rock bottom. He still loves his wife, but he is angered and hurt by her betrayal. This incident though was actually exactly what Cal needed to change his life and better himself. Cal resolves not to let this keep him down and he plans to meet new women. At a bar he meets a man named Jacob who teaches him the ins and outs of picking up women. Cal eventually becomes very successful in his ability to pick up women, and he gains confidence. Cal still misses his wife even though he has an ample supply girls he can be with. Eventually Cal launches a Hail Mary to get his wife back and save his marriage by telling a middle school auditorium full of people about his courtship of Emily. A final gesture by Cal that he will always fight for Emily encourages the two to make up. At this point Emily already knows about Cal’s many affairs, and Cal obviously knows about Emily’s affair but there love is true and real so they forgive each other and pick up their relationship hotter than before. This shows the deep love they have for each other is they are both willing to look pass their mistakes and be together.
The two films both use the genre of romance and show two of the strongest emotional bonds between a pair of couples. Rick and Ilsa’s love, which is so eternal it will live on in each other’s heart, is so strong that they will deprive themselves of each other because they know it is the right thing to do. Cal and Emily’s love is so resilient that even after a quagmire of emotional fallout they would go back to each other whole heartedly and show no resentment. Both films show the strength of true love through the resilience of Cal and Emily and the deep eternal bond between Rick and Ilsa. The films differ though on the conclusion of the story. Cal and Emily will continue to be together and will probably spend the rest of their lives together. Rick and Ilsa will probably never see each other again, and unlike Cal and Emily, the two might not even live much longer because of the dangerous business they are both involved in. Casablanca also incorporates elements from other genres which Crazy, Stupid, Love. Does not. Casablanca includes aspects from the genres of documentary, propaganda, drama, film noir, and western.
Michael Curtiz’s Casablanca and Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. Both represent the genre of romance through different aspects of the genre. Casablanca’s lovers split up in the end in order to do their duty. Crazy, Stupid, Love’s lovers reunite and promise to stay with each other. Both of these actions are equal in the amount of affection needed to make both decisions. Although the films were made over fifty years apart there is still a strong similarity between them.
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Mckibbin, Tony. “Encountering Cinema: Casablanca: Movies and Memory by Marc Augé.” Senses of Cinema RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.