Novak is brilliant in this film, but the movie is agonizing to view
It's just too painful to watch Novak's slow deterioration in this movie. She's so irresistible, so captivating throughout the film, and to see her come to a tragic end is unbearably sad.
She's the only reason to watch this film -- but oh, what a reason.
Sadly, one doesn't seem much of her legendary curvy figure -- the most gorgeous figure than any Hollywood actress has ever possessed. But the few glimpses that are shown are breathtaking.
The main male actor was just dreadful though -- so stiff and wooden. I pity Novak for having to act off such a cardboard cutout. He never seemed passionate, never seemed in love.
And that scene where he rejects Novak's advances is simply not credible. No man could resist anyone looking that gorgeous.
That said, I think the film makes a very frank and honest psychologial point. Novak is attracted to the main character at first, and is genuine in her acceptance of his proposal, until they sleep together. The subtext at that point is quite clear: his sexual performance is just awful, too awful for her to contemplate being romantically bonded to this man. That's why she takes off. And in every future meeting they have, she comes to him out of necessity, but never again can think of him as a romantic prospect, except as an act of gratitude.
Still, for such an intense subject, the film is just too British -- too non-physical, too non-demonstrative -- and the main male character just too unsympathetic. One pities Novak not just for her eventual fate, but for his pomposity and his inhumanness towards her. One wants to step in the movie and strangle him, or ask, "What's wrong with you?"
And as I said, it's just too painful to watch Novak's deterioration. One wants to enter the world of the film and rescue her. As always, Novak makes you care for her character deeply, so it's an agonizing ordeal to see her in a tragic ending. Brilliant performance by an actress who is truly extraordinary.