Friday, February 27, 2009

Got FAIL? has just the prescription.

Alfie: I'll tell you what it's all about

Kent and I saw Alfie - the one with Michael Caine, not pretty boy Jude Law (who is pretty even in person, and does look rather like Caine) - last week. I found the character, though highly flawed and overwhelmingly sexist, to be quite interesting. He's pretty clueless, which is, I suppose, the only reason why I could find such a character interesting and even a bit sympathetic. That, and the women he misuses get incrementally smarter about his game. I imagine that not soon after the story ends, Alfie has quite a bit of trouble picking anyone up. I could be wrong. After all, His Awesomeness Barney Stinson hasn't lost his knack yet.

"Only connect" said EM Forster. But Alfie's part of the swinging '60s generation and he rejects that notion wholeheartedly and suffers for it, though he doesn't see the connection between his miserableness and not emotionally connecting with the birds he beds. As he pushes them away whenever they start to get close, he believes he's being honest with himself and them. Alfie lives life on his terms, which are to be free and unattached. But in return, Alfie has no one; no one visits him at the sanitorium where he waits until the benign spot on his lung clears up, not even his buddy. No one's there to listen to his thoughts and feelings - sometimes his buddy does but he doesn't seem to really understand. We're the only ones who's always there for him. And do we actually like him? He has potential if only he'd see how miserable he's making himself. I mean, if he did die, who would actually go to his funeral? Would Gilda bring their son? Or would she keep him away, hide Alfie from him because Alfie was such a bad influence? As the movie ends, the dog from the opening returns and trots off with Alfie taking our place as the ever-present, mute witness to Alfie's charms and self-deceptions.

Interesting Wikipedia tidbit: Terrance Stamp turned down the part and recommended Caine. I would have loved to seen Stamp in that role.