review for Made for Each Other on AllMovie

Made for Each Other (1939)
by Craig Butler review

Made for Each Other shouldn't really work as well as it does. There's a third act change-of-gears that is so wrenching that it should throw the whole film off course, and it's followed by some changes-of-heart that are pretty hard to take. Fortunately, before this happens, Made has built up such good will for the characters that most viewers will accept the abrupt melodrama. Before that point, writers Jo Swerling and Frank Ryan have done a wonderful job of pulling the viewer in to the lives of young marrieds James Stewart and Carole Lombard. Even though the situations the couple finds itself in are certainly familiar, they're well handled and given just enough individuality to seem fresh. There are marvelous little touches in the dialogue, nothing poetic or meaningful, but little turns of phrases that make the characters live and breathe. All this would mean little if the actors portraying the couple were not Stewart and Lombard, each of whom turns in a performance that is absolutely pitch perfect. More importantly, they share a palpable chemistry; one really does believe that these two characters were made for each other. The supporting cast is also first rate, and John Cromwell's direction is appropriately sensitive, helped enormously by Leon Shamroy's gorgeous but unobtrusive cinematography.