A co-worker recently deemed Monday “Moan-day”, though the word moan just makes me giggle, and think anything but misery. Continuing the idea of combating “Mondays” with romance and love, let’s take a look at another favorite story of love, Frankie and Johnny. There was a time when this movie played near non-stop on cable. It was Summertime and I watched it so much I had parts of it memorized. I loved the laughter in it, the chemistry, the melancholy, and the hope that seemed to push through and prevail. I loved both Frankie and Johnny.
This one is one of two diner romances that I love. You’ll see the other one at the bottom end of the alphabet – stay tuned.
Is there a favorite romantic movie that you remember watching a lot in the Summertime? If so, what was it?
In this installment of the A-to-Z Cinematic Love Story Series, we take a visit to the letter F, and the 2004 movie Frankie and Johnny.
” I’m a BLT down sort of person, and I think you’re looking for someone a little more pheasant under glass.” ~ Frankie
Frankie and Johnny is definitely one of my “comfort films“, I love the writing, the characters (both lead and supporting), the stage play feeling to it (it was a stage play first), and the chemistry between Frankie (Michelle Pfieffer) and Johnny (Al Pacino) in this movie. The setting, in the diner, with all the characters and chaos, is such a great introduction to this makeshift family. Add into this Frankie’s best friend, and you have quite a collection. Every one of them, from the smallest roles to the leads, seem fully realized and believable. I root for them all, but most especially for Frankie and Johnny.
I was much younger than the leads when I first watched the film, younger still when I repeat watched it that Summer on cable. I’m closer now to their age, and re-watching it I find myself feeling even more for them. The fact that they both have had bad luck and are going about their individual next life chapters so differently, does not negate that fact that they are both looking for hope and a new start. Johnny is more vocal about it, more enthusiastic, more full of his wants and needs. He isn’t afraid to go after what he wants because I think he spent a long time being without. It feels like an act of celebration for him most of the time, finally having his freedom, the chance at a job, and an attraction to a woman he’d like to know more about (Frankie).
Johnny gets the job
Frankie, on the other hand, is shut down. She’s hid herself away and is just existing. She allows herself limited happiness, and has stopped believing in love, or letting herself admit to wanting it. She does want it, though, and I think Johnny sees that in her. I think he sees some of himself in her. She has walls up, though, and getting past them is not an easy feat, nor does it seem like it will work out at all until the very last scene.
That last scene, the end of the film, the final act that takes place in Frankie’s apartment, with the Claire De Lune request on the radio and the sunrise, and the conversations, it all just gets to me. It reminds me of those first nights together with a lover where you stay up until the sun rises, when it becomes beyond sex, when there is so much said and not said, when you start really falling for each other.
“When the bad comes again”