After two unsuccessful attempts to see “Alfie” in sold-out theaters, and many more failed tries at renting the original, I finally managed to see the film, which has been quite successful in its first weekend of release. Based on the original of the same name, “Alfie” is the story of a man who jumps from woman to woman, afraid to make any real connection with anyone.
While the films starts out slowly, it soon becomes extremely engaging. Just as I was wondering if maybe my previous failed attempts at seeing the movie were some kind of sign that I should have dodged “Alfie” at all costs, I became very interested in this character of Alfie (Jude Law).
Just like the women in the film, I, too, became smitten with Alfie. However, for me, it was not his charm that was so alluring, but rather his complexity as a person. Clearly not the innocent protagonist, Alfie goes around hurting other people. Yet, for some reason, he is likable in the truest sense of the word.
The film is surprisingly well-made. It is clear that director Charles Shyer, who apparently is fond of remakes (“Father of the Bride,” “The Parent Trap”), had a vision when he set out to make the film.
Along with screenwriter Elaine Pope, Shyer moves the setting from England to New York in an effort to modernize the tale.
The whole story is very tightly written and every character has a clear and distinct purpose.
The soundtrack is also notable, featuring some great performances from Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones and Dave Stewart, formerly a member of the Eurythmics.
Law gives an admirable performance as the main character. Speaking directly into the camera, he is filled with the nuances that make a character accessible to the audience. Omar Epps also gives a solid performance as Alfie’s best friend. Marisa Tomei, Sienna Miller, Susan Sarandon, Jane Krakowski and Nia Long jump on board as the women of Alfie’s life. All of these women hold their own alongside Law, giving well-above-par performances.
“Alfie” is not the light romantic comedy I thought it would be. While the plot is not as shocking as it originally was in 1966 when Michael Caine played the lead, it still manages to touch upon some serious topics. Questions of death, abortion, race and single parenthood are just some of the issues that the film manages to address in its relatively short-running time.
“Alfie” may not be a necessary remake, and it probably is not even a necessary film. In fact, it is a film that people can ultimately do without. However, there is something in the movie that gives it the potential to have a profound effect on the way we view ourselves and our relationships.
While this potential may not have been fully realized on screen, “Alfie” is the result of a valiant effort and a film that is certainly worth all necessary tries to see it.