Now, Voyager (1942)


 Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.

Irving Rapper directs this classic film starring Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale, the depressed and frumpy young woman who is controlled by her oppressive mother (Gladys Cooper). After seeking help from a psychiatrist Dr Jaquith (Claude Reins) she spends time in a sanitorium and transforms from frumpy to fashionable. On board a cruise liner she meets Jeremiah ‘Jerry’  Durrance (Paul Henreid). She learns he is unhappily married, and is prevented from divorcing his wife because of his daughter Tina. And basically, the two then become stranded and spend the night together, but then decide that even though they have fallen in love, it is better that they decide not to see each other again.

Charlotte returns home and is admired by everyone because of her new appearance. Her mother tries to break her spirits, but she relents and they have a short lived happy mother- daughter relationship. After calling off an engagement, the two women argue again (the reason for the mother’s hate towards Charlotte is out in the open at this point because she was the unwanted girl after three boys). Charlottes mother is so stunned that she has had the courage  to stand up to her that she has a heart attack and dies.

Distraught, Charlotte flees to the sanitarium again where she meets Jerry’s daughter and takes her under her wing because she reminds her of herself; lonely, depressed and unloved. Dr Jaquith and Jerry see how the little girl is flourishing and allow her to remain in Charlotte’s care. Which means there is a potential happy ending for Jerry and Charlotte (or at least implied).

Like many of the blog posts I have written  and I will write in the future , Now, Voyager was one of the many films I watched during my film masters. I enjoyed studying this film because it was studied alongside film marketing/advertising of the 1940s and how it promoted the idea that you will find the ideal partner if you are glamerous like Bette Davis  etc. The supporting actors in it such as Gladys Cooper ( reprising a role as an evil female for The song of Bernadette a year later) are superb and the film’s  ending line earnt a place as one of the most quotable movie lines in film history. It was also a pivotal film for Davis to shape her artistic career as an actress.

My rating 4.5/5

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