review for Love Affair on AllMovie

Love Affair (1994)
by Michael Costello review

Glen Gordon Caron directs this third remake of Leo McCarey's Love Affair (1939), by far the weakest of the three. Warren Beatty and Annette Bening star as the couple who meet on a cruise ship and make a date to meet at the Empire State Building six months hence. The filmmakers had the misfortune to release this vacuous romance shortly after Nora Ephron had done comic retrofitting of this material more successfully with Sleepless in Seattle (1993). Even so, this glacially paced romance is so often vague and unfocused that the most dedicated fans of the genre may find their attention wandering. This theme of vagueness recurs in the use of filters, perhaps understandable in the case of Katherine Hepburn, but reaching a ridiculous extreme in the photographing of Beatty, who often appears to be nothing more than a blurry special effect. Also one feels that the appearance of the extremely frail Hepburn borders on exploitation, even though, along with the mildly obnoxious Gary Shandling, she is the most interesting character in the film. The famous final scene is more effectively updated than the rest of the film, and Bening, who has gracefully balanced passion with restraint throughout, is perfect. Yet, hard as he tries,Beatty plays the denouement with boyish discomfort and self-regard, qualities inimical to the scene, and light years from the self-effacing charm of Charles Boyer and Cary Grant in the earlier versions.