The story opens amid the noisy fish stalls and bars of Marseille, where we meet 18-year old Fanny (Leslie Caron) who has been in love with Marius (Horst Buchholz) all her life. He loves her, too, but has always dreamed of running away on a sailing ship. The night before he is to leave, he and Fanny profess their love for each other. Will he stay with her or go to sea?
What a wonderful movie! I loved it as a teenager and was very surprised to find I love it more now. The story moves slowly and we get to know and care for the colorful characters of the bustling waterfront, especially Marius' father (played by Charles Boyer) and his wealthy friend (played by Maurice Chevalier in an Oscar-worthy performance that will break your heart). Caron is a lovely Fanny and Buchholz's Marius is dreamy and full of angst; their love spans many years and we see them grow up and mature. At the end they are both sadder and wiser and you'll be reaching for the tissues.
The strong bonds of love and respect from family and friends make this a heartwarming story. The location photography is beautiful and the romantic soundtrack is unforgettable. Highly recommended.
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