In London, the twenty-seven year-old hairdresser Rita decides to complete her basic education before having children as desired by her husband Denny. She joins the literature course in an ... See full summary »
For Alfie, the only real life is sex life; only then can he kid himself he is living. Sex is not used as the working-class boy's way to 'the top'. Executive status has no appeal for Alfie. Nor has class mobility. He is quite content to stay where he is, as long as the 'birds' are in 'beautiful condition', as he assures us they are in one of the candid, over-the-shoulder asides to the camera which the film carries over from "Tom Jones". The film shows how much of the 'swinging 60's' quality of London life was a male creation, and through the dominance of the fashion photographers, a male prerogative. Written by
A rarity in film, Alfie (Michael Caine) sporadically engages the audience by looking straight into the camera as he voices his thoughts, a technique known as "breaking the fourth wall". Curiously enough, Lewis Gilbert went on to direct Pauline Collins as the title character Shirley Valentine (1989), in which she also spoke her thoughts directly to the viewer. See more »
When Alfie speaks with Siddie in the final scene, the ambient light level varies between twilight and dark night. See more »
If you lose a bird you can always replace her. But with a child it's different.
See more »
At the beginning of the film Michael Caine talks to camera and explains that there will be no opening credits. See more »
Great period piece dealing with universal questions
This movie has long been one of my favorites. It is one of the few quintessentially "60's" movies, using filming methods that were quite unusual at the time (the direct dialogue between the main character and the audience, for example). While its style is clearly confined to that era, and England in particular, its subject matter is profoundly universal.
The subjects of love and devotion, or more accurately their opposites, philandering and infidelity, are treated with a unique sensitivity in the script. Michael Caine is at once both lovable and detestable, perfectly characterizing the age-old dynamic between the need for love and the need for physical pleasure. But this is not a feel-good movie, it is a movie that explores the difficult decisions that confront a person as they mature in both life and love, and it conveys the basic feelings that are present in all human beings, regardless of outward appearances.
I would recommend this as a thought-provoking exploration of human nature.
22 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?