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Combining peculiar whimsy with elements of Breakfast at Tiffany's, Barefoot in the Park, and Love Story, this enjoyably nonsensical romantic comedy has built a small but loyal following since its release in 1968. Like Somewhere in Time on a modest scale, Sweet November was a well-kept secret among hopeless romantics until a remake in 2001 (starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron) made it ripe for rediscovery. Rarely have sweet schmaltz and tear-jerking melodrama been so delicately employed, and the whole thing would be utterly ridiculous if it weren't for the delightful casting of Sandy Dennis and Anthony Newley--both at the height of their popularity, and both irresistible in their fairy-tale roles. (The costars reportedly battled off camera, which might explain their oddly energetic chemistry.)
Sandy is Sara Deever, nearly 23 and hiding a secret that will eventually explain her strategy of inviting a new man to live with her--with platonic affection--for one month at a time. It's romance on an installment plan, and Charlie Blake (Newley) is Sara's catch for November--a British businessman and aspiring poet who takes up residence in Sara's quirky Brooklyn Heights apartment. He's quick to fall in love, and his devotion grows touchingly intense when Sara's secret is revealed. Some will reach for Kleenex, others will roll their eyes, but Sweet November--like Sara, in all her eccentric vulnerability--has the courage of its convictions. Just when you think it's going to end predictably, it throws a curve ball that's memorably poignant. --Jeff Shannon
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