Wednesday, 13 April 2016

''Letter from an Unknown Woman'' (1948 film)- Review

Directed by: Max Ophüls
Released: 1948
Country: United States 

Genre: Romantic-drama

Rating: 5 out of 5


Middle-aged pianist Stefan Brand (Louis Jourdan) receives a letter from an ''unknown'' woman: the person who has written the letter is actually Lisa (Joan Fontaine), who used to be his neighbor years ago. When Stefan had moved into the same apartment building as Lisa, the latter had become infatuated with him. Though initially a simple schoolgirl crush, Lisa's feelings for Stefan grew stronger and ultimately, she fell in love with him, listening to him play the piano in the apartment next to hers, sneaking into his apartment in his absence, and learning about music. Stefan, however, did not even know about Lisa, and when he met her, her love remained largely unrequited and she was forgotten. Years and years passed, circumstances changed, but Lisa's love for Stefan never did.

The story sounds pretty simple, but the cinematography, performances, music, and Lisa's extremely beautiful narration makes ''Letter from an Unknown Woman'' a hauntingly beautiful and poetic film. The film deals with a topic that I think has somehow touched us all: unrequited love. I have never seen unrequited love explored as beautifully as it is done in ''Letter from an Unknown Woman''. Joan Fontaine is perfect in her role as Lisa, bringing into life the emotions and sentiments of the character as the character grows up into a young, sensible woman from a teenager and her feelings for the pianist who once used to be her neighbor remains unchanged, unaltered. How often do we ponder about such things? How often do we actually move on after a painful episode of unrequited love? Some manage to move on, while some do move on but still stick to the memories of the moments they had spent with the person who could never love them back. The way Lisa's feelings for Stefan is portrayed looks extremely realistic. Louis Jourdan in his role as Stefan is perfect as well. 

I loved the film, I did. It is a beautifully poetic film and I would highly recommend it.

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