True love: both willing to abandon their families to be together
Formal: Joe and Kate are married and though they get on quite well, there is the lingering sorrow about Larry.
The film Casablanca by Michael Curtis portrayed the theme of love in a number of different ways. Set in the Moroccan city during the Second World War, the characters must deal with the challenges of their circumstances as well as their hearts. We learn how love can be passionate and romantic in one of key scenes of the film. We learn too that love is not all roses and poetry, that it is sometimes about making vows and keeping them. Finally we see true love on screen, when the characters show themselves willing to sacrifice themselves to help other people.
In Casablanca we learn about how love can be blissful and carefree. During the flashback scene we see Rick and Ilsa cavorting around Paris, smoking cigars, drinking champagne and living an idyllic, almost fantastical life. The piano player, Sam, at the bar they drink in provides the soundtrack to their relationship, singing the sweet melodies of ‘As Time Goes By’. There is a darker side to their relationship, however, and this can be seen in their constant evasion of personal questions. “__________________________”.
In Casablanca we find out a lot about how love is not just a personal bond but an official one which places responsibilities on all of those who commit to it. Despite the impression we get of Ilsa being carefree in Paris, there is the question about who she is and where she really comes from. Rick gets at least a partial answer to this question when we he prepares to escape form Paris with her – but instead of showing up at the train station to meet him, Ilsa sends a note saying that she can never see him again. We later learn the reason for this: Ilsa had a husband, Victor Lazlo, who had been captured by the Nazis and who she had presumed to be dead. When she discovered the news of his escape, she felt a duty to return and meet him. This more formal example of love is clearly different to the carefree love discussed earlier in the essay. In the film we get no sense of passion between Ilsa and Victor.
This is not to say that they do not love each other, however. And here we can see another side to love – the sacrificial side of love. In Casablanca we see how true love is the most powerful emotion visible – stronger than hate or greed or corruption. The two male lead characters, Rick and Victor, show themselves willing to make huge sacrifices for a woman – the only problem is that they are in love with the same woman, Ilsa Lund. Towards the end of the film Victor says that he is willing to let Ilsa go on to America without him, if it meant she would be safe. Similarly, Rick concocts a cunning plan to allow Victor to escape from Casablanca with the woman he (Rick) loves. In the climax of the movie Rick explains to Ilsa why he did it: “Maybe not today…”. This was a poignant and moving example of true love at work – Rick was willing to sacrifice, to some extent, his own happiness to that Ilsa’s happiness could be secured.