review for Now, Voyager on AllMovie

Now, Voyager (1942)
by Lucia Bozzola review

Adapted by Casey Robinson from the Olive Higgins Prouty best-seller, complete with large chunks of the novel's dialogue, Now, Voyager (1942) became one of Bette Davis's most adored women's pictures. With skilled Warner Bros. talent Irving Rapper directing, and Davis surrounded by an excellent cast, including Gladys Cooper as the stony matriarch, Claude Rains as the sensitive psychiatrist, and double-cigarette-lighting Paul Henreid as the romantic lead, Now, Voyager's potentially soapy story became a superior melodrama about one woman's self-actualization from put-upon spinster to stylish philanthropist. With Warner Bros. designer Orry-Kelly's costumes and Max Steiner's Oscar-winning score playing key supporting roles, Charlotte's transformation from a dowdy, neurotic wallflower into a beautiful, elegant woman is matched by her discovery of inner strength through love. With Davis' masterful performance showcasing her signature forcefulness as well as her capacity for romantic gentleness, Now, Voyager became a considerable hit. Henreid's neatly suggestive means for lighting cigarettes became one of the high points of Hollywood romance, and Now, Voyager's final moment of resignation and self-sacrifice has entered the pantheon of great closing lines.