For Valentine’s Day, try this romantic classic.
Mrs. Minnett (Mildred Natwick), a widow, owns a small cottage that she rents out to honeymoon couples. Some people believe there is a magic about the house that keeps the couples safe and happy. Laura (Dorothy McGuire) is a plain girl who comes to work in the house because she responds to its special feeling. Oliver (Robert Young), rich and careless, comes to see the house and reserves it for his honeymoon. But before he can be married, he is called off to war and seriously injured. He comes to the cottage alone and bitter, to retreat from the world. Wanting to shield himself from his family and his former fiancee, he impulsively proposes to Laura, who accepts, but does not tell him that she loves him. He is so self-absorbed that he does not even wonder why she agrees.
After the wedding, they go back to the cottage, embarassed and uncomfortable. But the cottage works its enchantment, and they realize that they have become beautiful and whole, and deeply in love. They live in blissful happiness, confiding only in Mrs. Minnett and their blind friend. But when Oliver’s family arrives, they cannot see the transformation. Oliver and Laura are crushed, until they realize that the enchantment was love, and that it would always make them beautiful to one another.
Like the magic in the story, this movie is only for believers, but there are many cynics who have a special affection for what can only be called its enchantment. As Antoine de Saint-Exupery says in The Little Prince, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Many children will not have the patience for this story, but others will find it one of their favorite films.
Questions for Kids:
How do the writer and director help the viewer believe in the magic that Oliver and Laura feel?
Why doesn’t Oliver want to see his family?
Do people in love see each other differently than other see them? Can you think of other movies or books where this happens?