I’ll Be Seeing You (Dieterle, Cukor, 1944)

I’ll Be Seeing You (William Dieterle & George Cukor, 1944)

A mostly cute and simple 1940s love story. While it’s plagued by an overly eccentric background story (Ginger Rogers is on prison leave; Joseph Cotten is an institutionalized ex-soldier – it would have felt much less forced if only one had a wacky back story), it still manages to mostly focus on the present and the two shy and hurting protagonists. The film moves swiftly through their week together gifting us with bashful smiles, loving kisses, and the sad understanding that their pasts still linger. In a scene towards the end, he boards a train in anger after learning she had lied about her past. Ginger Rogers’ subtle portrayal of anguish and heartbreak in this scene made my heart sad, and if you couldn’t sense it before, this scene was all you needed to know about their need for one another. (Well, this and the final scene, which I won’t spoil.) But unfortunately, while the central relationship feels genuine, the side characters mostly feel like a tool to initiate plot movement – a major sore spot in what is otherwise a nice little story.  8/10

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