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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.