The Purple Rose of Cairo was yet another of a long list of movies I always wanted to see, but neglected out of stupidity. I shouldn’t have waited, but I may not have understood it when it came out, so maybe it was better to have waited.
There is no risk that anyone won’t get the jokes or think this humor. This is a masterfully told story that is funny without any “told” jokes. The humor is there in the situation, and is really a timeless sort of story.
If you’re not familiar, the principal, Cecilia, is a waitress in a bad marriage who loves to go to the movies, and falls in love with one of the characters in a movie, who then leaves the film to be with her.
It’s a deliciously fun idea, and the story is fully committed to that premise, and the humor flows naturally out of the inherent conflict. The husband wants the wife back, but is incapable of loving her. The movie character wants to be with Cecilia, but is also incapable of true human emotion. The actor portraying the movie character also falls for Cecilia, and competes for her attention.
What threw me was the ending. Cecilia ends up with none of the men in her life, and goes, alone, back to the movies. I thought this was a cheat, violating the principle that, in a comedy, the principals end up married at the end. Then I realized that Cecilia is in love with going to the movies, not with any of those men. It’s a sad twist, but is true to the character.
In the end, Cecilia is very happy, and she found her own way to that happiness. Who am I to say that she is living the wrong life? I wouldn’t mind taking her place in fact, although, if I were in a relationship with going to the movies, I’d probably have affairs with books and the internet. And who could blame me?