Movie Review – Sabrina (1954)

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For the next Hopeful Romantic movie review, I reach back to the 1954 version of Sabrina. It stars Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina, and Humphrey Bogart and William Holden as the well-to-do brothers Linus and David Larrabee. I certainly hope everyone has seen this movie, but if not, please stop reading and go out and rent or buy it immediately, as I will include many spoilers in my review.

Sabrina is the daughter of Linus’s chauffeur and grew up around the Larrabees, falling in love with David along the way. David is somewhat of a playboy, falling in and out of love with every girl that comes along – and has had three failed marriages to boot! Sabrina witnesses David from afar, and fantasizes about being one of those girls that David falls for. In this respect, Sabrina is very much a hopeless romantic  – she has fallen in love with David in a completely one-sided affair.

After realizing that David won’t give her any romantic attention, Sabrina runs off to culinary school in Paris. During her exile, she learns a bit about herself and high society, changing her looks and demeanor to someone that can gain the attention of David. She returns, but there is only one problem – David is engaged to someone else.

Not even recognizing Sabrina at first, David picks Sabrina up from the train station to drive her home… his home, in fact. Well, he soon figures out this is the same girl that he grew up around, but how has she changed! So much, in fact, that he now wants to call off his pre-arranged engagement to run off with the chauffeur’s daughter.

Linus, the brains behind the Larrabee empire, is about to see his multi-million dollar deal go out the window if David runs off with Sabrina. So he intervenes, trying to “keep it all in the family”. He entertains Sabrina after he incapacitates his brother, trying to get her to fall in love with him instead. He feigns wanting to get away from the boardroom and to run off to Paris to experience the city. And he convinces Sabrina that he wants her to come with him. And the hopeless romantic that Sabrina is, she falls for him. And just when Linus almost has her convinced of their budding love (and has her booked on a one way ticket back to Paris), Linus drops the truth of his whole charade.

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For the Hopeful Romantics out there, this seems like an awful lot of deceit, with an extra dose of falling in love too soon. And indeed it is. But there are some shining points in this story.

  1. Sabrina figures out how to gain David’s attention. Simply fawning over him and expressing her one-sided crush isn’t enough. She had to go to Paris and become a whole new person – new clothes, new attitude, new haircut, etc. The lesson here is that if you are attracted to someone (or a certain type of someone), you’ve got to look the part. And Sabrina does that transformation exceptionally well.
  2. A funny thing happened to Sabrina and Linus both. While they were out on the town while David was holed up, they connected. Perhaps a little too quickly for Hopeful Romantics like us, but nonetheless they connected. Sabrina was eager to go to Paris with him and show him around, and Linus was honest enough to admit to his deception. Excitement and honesty are two solid ways to start a relationship.
  3. At the end, David realizes his foolishness and tries to set things right. He doesn’t know if his brother was really faking it with Sabrina, or if Linus fell for her too. So he eggs Linus on, essentially calling Sabrina a gold digger. Boom! Linus punches David right in the kisser. At that point, Linus realizes how much he likes (loves?) Sabrina and runs off to catch her on the boat to Paris.
    Sometimes, even Hopeful Romantics need friends and family to help us realize how we truly feel about someone or what we should do in a given situation. And it is our responsibility as Hopeful Romantics to help out our friends and family when they need a little encouragement to head down the right path with (or without) someone.

So the moral of the story is, don’t fall in love too soon. And if you do, at least have the good fortune of it being Humphrey Bogart’s character.

Meaningful Quote – Khalil Gibran

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Khalil Gibran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following is an excerpt from Khalil Gibran’s The Broken Wings.

Real beauty lies in the spiritual accord that is called love which can exist between a man and a woman.

Did my spirit and Selma’s reach out to each other that day when we met, and did that yearning make me see her as the most beautiful woman under the sun? Or was I intoxicated with the wine of youth which made me fancy that which never existed?

Did my youth blind my natural eyes and make me imagine the brightness of her eyes, the sweetness of her mouth, and the grace of her figure? Or was it that her brightness, sweetness, and grace opened my eyes and showed me the happiness and sorrow of love?

It is hard to answer these questions, but I say truly that in that hour I felt an emotion that I had never felt before, a new affection resting calmly in my heart, like the spirit hovering over the waters at the creation of the world, and from that affection was born my happiness and my sorrow. Thus ended the hour of my first meeting with Selma, and thus the will of Heaven freed me from the bondage of youth and solitude and let me walk in the procession of love.

The quote I wanted to share is in bold, but I thought I’d extend it into a little excerpt to give it a little more context. This quote (and book) touches on an important theme when searching for love at a younger age, something that I mention in The Hopeful Romantic‘s Introduction, and then again in Chapter 6 – Growing in Love. And that is – we have to be careful about falling in love too quickly, as it can be completely one-sided.

Yes, the first time we fall in love can be great and wondrous. But it is far better to fall in love with someone. The Hopeful Romantic is patient with their quest, and falls in love precisely when they mean to.

Book Review – Dealbreaker

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This post restarts my series of book reviews from a Hopeful Romantic perspective. Some of the books are kinda new, some of the books are a bit older – either way, the books offer something (at least partially) for those looking to improve their approach to love and relationships.

Now, most books about relationships fall into three categories.

  1. From a clinical psychologist with a Phd that has done countless studies and therapy sessions. These aren’t much fun to read as they are laden with examples of people that should have known better.
  2. There has been a wave of guys writing a sort of “tell all” book geared towards women to enlighten them on the wayward ways of men. (I’ll get to reviewing those books in time.)
  3. The humorous memoir written by a chronically single woman. It’s great to be entertained and all, but I’m not sure why so many women keep buying these types of books from someone who ultimately hasn’t been successful in finding a lifelong romantic relationship yet.

The book I’m reviewing today, Dealbreaker, seems like it would fall into that last category. Besides having a chronically single woman as a writer, Marisa Pinson, she is joined by a male writer Dave Horwitz. They both perform together at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles and have started writing television episodes together, too. Their authors’ bio on the last page mentions that they started writing Dealbreaker (first as a blog, then into a book) so “they could vent their frustrations about their ill-fated dating lives”.  Alright, so this book will break the mold a little bit and will not just be written by a single lady writing about her relationship woes in a comic fashion, but will be written by a guy, too.

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First, this book is hilarious. It is especially hilarious to those with a varied dating past, as we can likely relate to almost every single Dealbreaker. But here is the thing – while they list and explain these funny dealbreakers (something that makes you not want to date someone), they are all true. Here’s one from a page I just randomly opened:

You Won’t Stop Talking About Your Ex
Wait, I think you’ve told me this story before. It ends with your ex saving a baby from a burning building. No? Oh, it’s the one about how he took you to a private island owned by his billionaire father? Or maybe it’s about how the only reason you two broke up was because he had to go on a humanitarian mission in Africa! You know what, if you like him so much, why don’t you go live with him in his sweaty, mosquito-infested tent? Oh, I get it. That’s how this story ends.

If I hadn’t already made enough incorrect assumptions about this book, I also thought that Dealbreaker would line up with the content from Chapter 5 Differences. But Marisa and Dave span dealbreakers across the gamut of a doomed relationship, listing each dealbreaker when they are most likely to be discovered. Here’s the chapter list (since the book itself doesn’t have one):

  1. The First Impression
  2. The First Date
  3. The Morning After
  4. Three Months Later
  5. Three Months Later (Again)
  6. The Breakup and Beyond

From a Hopeful Romantic perspective, some of the dealbreakers are visible external traits – what they look like, what they wear, and types of things that they like. (You drive a Hummer. Your funny tattoo.) They also list internal traits that you (should) figure out after a few dates/conversations. (You’re a Scientologist. You Don’t Believe In Evolution.) And then the other dealbreakers seem to be caused by a lack of relationship skills or common sense. (You live with your parents. You flirt with other people.)

All in all, for those looking to learn something while they are entertained, this book not only lists some common issues to watch out for, it also reads as a list of things to not do yourself. In relation to The Hopeful Romantic, you will see some of the same themes and topics mentioned in Chapter 2 – Knowing What You Want, Chapter 5 – Differences, Chapter 6 – Growing In Love, and Chapter 7 – Dead End Relationship. Please, stay tuned. In the meantime, buy Dealbreaker and get a jump start on getting out of your next doomed relationship.

Music: The Hopeful Romantic Mixtape

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A few years ago for Valentine’s Day, I compiled a Hopeful Romantic Mixtape – songs from my favorite artists that correspond with each chapter. Well, with the advent of this new website and the streaming availability of Spotify, I thought it was worthwhile to repost. Here’s a link to the Spotify playlist, as well as a chapter and track listing:

Chapter 1 – Being Happy
Heartless Bastards – Be So Happy

Chapter 2 – Knowing What You Want
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Oregon Girl

Chapter 3 – First Contact
Eli “Paperboy” Reed & The True Loves – Am I Wasting My Time

Chapter 4 – First Date, First Kiss
Flight of the Concords – A Kiss Is Not A Contract

Chapter 5 – Differences
Wilco – Pick Up The Change

Chapter 6 – Growing In Love, Then Falling In Love
Ben Kweller – Falling

Chapter 7 – Dead End Relationships
Feist – Inside And Out

Chapter 8 – The Art of the Breakup
Loretta Lynn – Mrs. Leroy Brown

Chapter 9 – Recovery
Limbeck – Honk + Wave

Chapter 10 – Is This Person the One?
Patrick Wolf – The Magic Position

Chapter 11 – Appreciation + Compromise
Golden Shoulders – Patience Darling, Patience

Chapter 12 – Being Happy Together
Jens Lekman – Someone to Share My Life With

That last song was Melissa and I’s first dance at our wedding!

I’ll try to update this playlist every Valentine’s Day. So look for a new one next February!

Photo via Flickr user le vent le cri

Book Review – To Fall In Love Is Foolish

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Written in 2004, To Fall In Love Is Foolish was my first self-published book on love and relationships. It encapsulated my thoughts, experiences, and opinions at the time. It was rather personal in nature, so I retired it long ago, but I review it now to give some background on my current project.

In the first chapter, which the book draws its name, To Fall In Love Is Foolish, I described my understanding of falling in love – a completely one-sided affair that is done before the person falling in love knows anything substantial about the other person. I used to do this all of the time in grade school and high school – before even asking the girl out. Once I did ask the girl out, it wouldn’t work out for one reason or another – and I would be heartbroken.

The second chapter, To Be In Love Is Cute, deals with what can happen when two people fall in love before they hardly know anything about each other. The premise being, that if two people fall in love with each other, then they can just as easily fall out of love with each other. (This would be fairly common in high school relationships.)

The third and final chapter, To Grow In Love Is Gorgeous, was then my “solution” to this problem of falling in and out of love. Instead of falling in love right at the beginning of a relationship as many of us are prone to do, a better course of action is to slowly grow in love.

When I tried to apply this from the start of my next serious relationship, I discovered something – yes, growing in love is the right way to start a relationship, but once you know you’ve found somebody great (based on time together), you can’t be afraid to fall in love with them.

Learning that lesson, I’ve incorporated that concept into Chapter 6 of The Hopeful Romantic – Grow In Love, Then Fall In Love – something I was successfully able to do in my relationship with Melissa.

Movie Review: High Fidelity

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We meet Laura and Rob as they are at the end of their seemingly dead end relationship. Laura recognizes the stagnation and decides to end things. Good for her. The Hopeful Romantic doesn’t wait around hoping things will magically get better someday. When the other person refuses to change/grow, it’s time to get out.

Rob, though, can’t seem to get over Laura. He falls into the Recovery stage, and in trying to figure out what went wrong with Laura, other than being an asshole, he realizes he never figured out why his other previous relationships didn’t work out. So he reaches out to all of his old girlfriends to find out.

And he made some classic mistakes:

·         He broke up with someone because she wouldn’t get physical with him right away, missing an opportunity with her because of it.

·         He went after someone (Charlie) way about his status/looks. “You’ve got to learn to fight your weight” rings true. Don’t shoot too high.

·         After that breakup, he got into a relationship with Sarah, who also just went through a breakup, just so they wouldn’t be alone. This is to be avoided. Follow Rainer Maria Rilke’s advice instead – “We know little, but that we must trust in what is difficult is a certainty that will never abandon us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it.”

Once he figured out what an asshole he had been, when Laura needed him back in her life after her dad died, Rob was ready to step up and commit.

In true Hopeful Romantic fashion, she then helps open Rob’s eyes to see how happy he should be as owner of a record store. She encourages him to start DJing again. He even starts his own record label.

And the biggest sign of growth is when he realizes he shouldn’t be making a mix tape for a girl that isn’t Laura.

Rob finally grows up and becomes a Hopeful Romantic.

[images from Music Snobbery with copyright likely belonging to Touchstone Pictures. Used under fair use.] 

About Falling In Love

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If you fall in love too soon, you can fall out of love just as easy. To me, to fall in love means to be head-over-heels in love with someone. But if you look at it, falling in love can be completely one-sided. My entire time in high school was spent falling in love with one girl after the other. After I fell in love with one, I would try to get up enough courage to ask her out, but I usually just wrote her a letter professing my love. Eventually in college I found someone who was willing to fall in love with me, and we were “in love”.

 

The issue with falling in love is that the falling part requires a huge leap of faith, that the other person is worthy of our love. Before completely giving our hearts away to a relative stranger, take some time to date them and get to know them. Weed out the weasels or party girls “just looking for fun” and the losers with out their act together. “What do you mean you don’t have a checking account? You’re 24 years old!”

 

Once you’ve determined the intentions of the other person and you know your lives are moving in the same direction, then an en emotional commitment has a better chance of working. You can still fall in love with each other, but at least you know (for the most part) who you are falling in love with.

Photo by Flickr user pwbaker