Valentine's videos -- ''Tea and Sympathy,'' ''Lolita,'' ''Tim,'' and others are videos to give Cupid pause


Get Out Your Handkerchiefs

  • Movie

If love makes the world go round, it takes all kinds to make it happen. So, for those weary of conventional love stories in which boy meets girl, loses girl, and gets girl again, here are some Valentine’s Day videos to give Cupid pause.

Tea and Sympathy (1956)
Vincente Minnelli’s adaptation of the Robert Anderson play is an antique now, but it remains one of the rare mainstream movies that chart a romance between a gay man (whose preference is obvious but never explicit) and a straight woman. John Kerr is the sensitive, aloof prep- school student who prefers Brahms to baseball and whom the other students call ”Sister Boy.” Deborah Kerr is the neglected, lonely faculty wife who discovers in him the affection and consideration missing in her own marriage. ”I’m always falling in love with the wrong people,” he sighs. ”Who isn’t?” she replies. For some, that exchange describes the history of desire. B

Lolita (1962)
Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s wicked, witty hymn to forbidden love loses some bite in the journey from novel to the screen, but it’s got its plummy pleasures, including a wonderfully subtle James Mason as Humbert Humbert, obsessed with the delicious Sue Lyon as the 14-year-old Lolita (bumped up from 12 in the book), and a marvelously blowzy Shelley Winters, hilarious as Lolita’s sexually voracious mom. B+

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (1977)
Romance for four. In Bertrand Blier’s ode to the delightfully odd in human behavior, the preternaturally beautiful Carole Laure plays Solange, who has retreated into some mysterious corner of herself. Not even the sexual ministrations of a second man (Patrick Dewaere), at the prompting of her husband (Gerard Depardieu), can ”bring back her smile.” It takes a 13-year-old genius to rekindle her flame. A

Tim (1979)
In this Australian production, clenched middle-aged woman Piper Laurie lucks upon love in her illiterate, slightly mentally handicapped gardener, played by the young Mel Gibson before Mad Max hurtled him into heartthrobdom. This is the kind of movie, sentimental and with an outrageously syrupy score, that will make people either cry their eyes out or wet their pants. C

I Sent a Letter to My Love (1981)
The great Simone Signoret, her face a magnificently wrinkled map of time, takes a break from caring for her paralyzed brother (Jean Rochefort) and begins a tenderhearted correspondence through the local personals column. What she doesn’t know is that she’s carrying on an affair through the mails with him. A gentle, quietly compelling character study that merely goes to show that people can find in their backyards what they so anxiously seek outside. B+

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs

  • Movie
  • Bertrand Blier