Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The importance of being Ernest

In the Forums section of thrillofthechaste.com, there's a discussion thread called "Chastity on the Silver Screen." After seeing a certain classic film for the first time tonight, I'm tempted to add a new film to the thread's list of chaste or sorta-chaste flicks: "Marty."

Although I had read Paddy Chayefsky's original teleplay, I wasn't prepared for how great the film was, especially Ernest Borgnine's Academy Award-winning performance in the title role. More so than any other film I've seen, that film, thematically, really is The Thrill of the Chaste.

So much of it is familiar, like the prejudices over looks — the superficiality that breeds so easily in those who seek sex outside of marriage. None of the single people in the film want to be a "dog," nobody wants to go out with a dog, everyone wants to date someone better-looking than them. Likewise, there's the still-prevalent damaged-goods stereotype — the belief that there must be something wrong with someone over 30 who's still unmarried. Yet, those same people who judge others that way are often, well, unmarried. (The stereotype also holds some truth, which has never been explored more sensitively or honestly than in "Marty.")

If you've seen the film, you know that stereotypes and cynicism lose in the face of faith, hope, and love. Here's the film's ending, if you'd like to relive it. I urge you not to view it if you've yet to see the film.