Why you should watch: Casablanca (1942)

Who doesn't know about Casablanca? This movie might be the greatest of all great classic movies. It's a literary film, and that's exactly why I love it.

And why should you watch Casablanca? Aside from the fact that it's plain epic? Well...

1. The plot: a once passionate man turns cynical and aloof after receiving a major heartbreak from a woman he truly believes is the one. Then she comes back into his life, this time, with her husband, who she thought was long dead but apparently is not. It's set during the WWII, and at that time refugees were storming Casablanca to avoid the nasty German Nazis, so there's some major complications for us to enjoy. How can the cynical man reunite with his lover, when she's already married to another extremely devoted man who would do anything for her? And not to mention there are Nazis watching their every moves? This isn't only a story of love, it's a story of survival and sacrifice. So, so many morals.

2. Rick Blaine: the good and bad hero.

He knows how to act in situations, knows how to dress, knows the most awesome lines, and is just simply a true gentleman (though sometimes his bad side shows up). We are introduced to him as the owner of Rick's Café Américain, the popular cafe used as the main setting of the film. He's cynical, nonchalant about the condition surrounding him, almost unsymphatetic to everyone ("I stick my neck out for nobody"), rather coldhearted and straightforward and is particularly jaded. But this personality of Rick is there for a reason: mid-watching Casablanca there are flashbacks that show a different kind of Rick Blaine; a passionate, cheerful and optimistic one. From his facial expression alone we notice how different he was before he becomes cold. In fact, the ending shows a very heroic and self-sacrificing Rick who suddenly changes from an uncaring man to a man who is willing to give up his own life for other's safety. Rick's character development throughout the entire movie is just astounding.

Oh, and why did he change?

2. Because of Ilsa Lund, of course. The beautiful woman who suddenly left Rick in Paris with no clear reason. Talk about breaking hearts, I think she's done it.

Ilsa Lund in the film is faced with an extremely difficult problem. Yes, she is married, yes, she is informed that her husband died from the war, yes, she then falls so much in love with Rick, and yes, she suddenly faces the news that her husband is actually still alive! What would you do if you're suddenly told that your spouse isn't dead yet, when your heart already belongs to someone else? She struggles to find happiness, and her loyalty towards the man she loves is something we all should admire. When she decides to be with her own husband, not with Rick, it kills her --and she couldn't tell Rick the truth-- but that's the sacrifice she made. I think her character is quite tragic, for the reason that she's so torn between the two men in her life, and in the case of Rick, she has to declare her love for him, but leave him, and then meet him again and declare her love to him again, and then leave him again. Is it really Rick she loves? Or is she loyal only to her husband? Or is this just her ulterior motive for something much more important than love? She needed something else from Rick, something other than love anyway.

3. In a more obvious reason on why you should watch Casablanca, there are truckload of one-liners: "Here's looking at you, kid", "We'll always have Paris", "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" "Play it, Sam" that you can steal and use as your own status or whatever.

4. This film taught you the difference between doing what is right, and what is easy. It won't be Casablanca if Rick and Ilsa ever did elope together, leaving their responsibilities behind. An expensive price to pay, the ending, but it becomes so memorable, so right, it's ridiculous.

5. The chemistry between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman is just crazy. There's a blazing fire burning in the hearts of their characters, Rick and Ilsa, and no one can deny that, no one can stop that, not even themselves. I witnessed such amazing character development watching the part when Rick tells Ilsa that she should be with her husband. Rick knows that there are a lot more consequences if he gives in to the opportunity of eloping, while Ilsa was so into the idea of running away together with Rick that she couldn't even care anymore. She's problematic because of this love affair, but it's Rick who straightens everything out for her. In quite a painful way.

6. As Time Goes By. That is what I call music. You should listen to it!

7. In a more cinematic view, this film has it all. Lovely cinematography, lovely directing, lovely setting, lovely wardrobes, lovely plot, lovely dialogue, lovely messed up characters... yes, it's a lovely classic. A grand kind of lovely, I should say.

8. Well, the moment you start watching this you will notice the epicness of this movie right away. And I think, when you're done watching this, you'll become more mature. And wiser. And better. Yes, this is a film that turns you into a better person. And if it doesn't, then there's something wrong with you.

9. This film is #1 on AFI's list of 100 years... 100 passion, it won three Academy Awards nomination, including Best Picture, it has become so popular and iconic its scenes and quotes are often being referred to countless other movies, novels and such, and is regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.

So what are you waiting for? Go grab your own copy of Casablanca and enjoy!


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