The Shop Around the Corner

Have I mentioned that I absolutely adore classic movies? Audrey Hepburn (but of course), Humphrey Bogart, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, James Stewart… Oh for these people’s movies I stretch my patience! Getting a hold of their movies is a precious thing for me, for their movies are not readily available in the market, save for Ms. Hepburn’s, which are always on sale at Astrovision. 😀

I got bored one day and decided to scour the world over for some classics. I don’t know what induced me to look for this one, but look I did and just a few days later, I got my hands on this gem of a movie.

A precursor to Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s hit romantic-comedy You’ve Got Mail, The Shop Around the Corner stars the beautiful James Stewart and the equally beautiful Margaret Sullavan as salespersons who fall in love despite their, uh, “differences.” The two argue a lot and are resentful of each other until Stewart’s character discovers that she is the lady he had been corresponding with and the one he was fallen in love with.

Since this review is more than 50 years old overdue, I’ll just say what I like about this movie from a contemporary point of view.

I love how this movie explores the idea of falling in love with one’s personality before knowing what the other person looks like but that it stays genuine in that no matter how much we value personality over looks in matters of the heart, we can’t help but still include looks in the equation, as portrayed in the movie when Novak (Sullavan) hedges when Kralik (Stewart) describes her penpal as far from attractive.

This movie brings to mind how people nowadays are so preoccupied with searching for the perfect-looking partner. The thing is: I can’t blame people for factoring a person’s appearance in when looking for a partner. Why would you want to wake up next to a person you can’t stand looking at, right? What this movie tells and reminds us, though, is to look beyond the looks and into the personality as well, for it is just as, if not more than, important in a partner.


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