I’m not only a sucker for books but also for movies, so much so that I would like to write my own screen play someday.
A lot of what I’ve read has been made into television or movie adaptations. Or at times, I’d find out that a movie I’ve watched was originally written not for the big screen but for those who simply want to curl up in a good book.
Once such movie I’ve watched recently is entitled “The Lost Valentine.” This was originally a novel of the same name.
The movie was one of many movies with heart-tugging storylines especially broadcast for the holidays – however, it may be out of season this Christmas as the title suggests. But, nonetheless, it is a movie I’d watch over and over had I a copy of a home dvd.
A widowed old woman (Caroline) of about 80 loses her Naval aviator Lieutenant husband during World War II and every Valentine’s Day, she waits in the same train station for her husband’s return. It would be sixty years later and it is clear, except to the ever hopeful wife, that her husband is unlikely to return.
Seemingly a human version of the story of a Japanese dog (Hachiko) that waits at a train station for its owner for many years even after the owner’s death, Caroline’s story has been deemed a potential story to be featured in TV show and as reporter Susan does her job of putting Caroline’s love story on the record, she finds herself falling for Lucas, Caroline’s grandson.
What pleases me about this story is that, though seemingly clichéd, it portrays the kind of love one would certainly want to have with someone – a love that is not shaken by any impediment, be it time or absence. In the story, a newly married couple (Caroline and her husband Neil) is broken apart by war while bearing a promise of eternal love. Caroline never remarries, keeping her promise.
Definitely, a heartbreaking moment in the film is when at the first part, Caroline rushes after the moving train –the battlefield its destination – just to prolong the moment of seeing her husband as he looks out the window of the boxcar and she continues to look on as the train moves far away from view, her face stricken with tears for the uncertainty of his return.
I’m sure there are a lot of real life widows like Caroline who have lost their spouse in the war and have not a grave to lay flowers on.
But thanks to Susan’s detective work, Caroline is able to say “my husband is coming home today” as a coffin, holding her husband’s remains that was recovered in the Philippines, is brought over – covered by the American flag.
The movie, along with Betty White’s superb portrayal of Caroline, gives it a spot in my list of favourite holiday movies. It’s one of those stories which you’d wish were based from true events and not simply fiction.