Happy Valentine’s Day. If I could and if these gentlemen were real, I would spend this Valentine’s Day with one of these fine leading men from my favorite films.
Paul Varjak (George Peppard)
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (1961)
Bio: Published author and kept man of Patricia Neal. He moves into the same building with the charming and erratic Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn).
Likes: With having time on his hands, he spends time entertaining and being entertained by Holly. Enjoys parties, going to libraries, and writing.
Admirable qualities: Not being on the firmest side of moral himself, Paul is the only man who does not treat Holly like a joke or a call girl. She can open up to him about her brother, her past, and dreams. He even indulges her calling him Fred, her brother’s name. Knowing Holly energizes Paul to write again and stand up for himself Neal’s character. Paul finally gets fed up with Holly’s social climbing schemes and implores her to see they belong together. She rejects him then for a suave Brazilian politician, but Paul never totally abandons her. He runs to her aid when she hears of her brother’s death and helps her get of of jail. Holly continues to think marrying rich is her ticket to happiness and Paul is frank in calling her out and thankfully gets through to her.
Laurie (Christian Bale)
LITTLE WOMEN (1994)
Bio: Heir and grandson to Mr. Lawrence. Neighbor of the March sisters.
Likes: Accomplished piano player, reluctant student, enjoys seeing and preforming theater, ice skating, and hanging out with the March sisters.
Admirable Qualities: Laurie meets Jo (Winona Ryder) at a stuffy party and they become fast friends, almost siblings. He helps all the sisters and their mother. He saves Amy from drowning, helps Meg when she sprains her ankle, and assists the family when Beth falls ill. He never makes the March girls feel poor or inferior, in fact he envies their close family relationships and warmth. Yet, Laurie does not always act gallantly. He embarrasses Meg at a fancy party and falls into drinking and partying in Paris after Jo refuses his proposal Once he hears of trouble in the March family, he rights his ways and comes to Amy’s aid. In the end, he gets his wish to be a part of the March family on his own merits by winning Amy’s heart.
Will Hunting (Matt Damon)
GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997)
Bio: Orphan, Mathematical Genius, Janitor at MIT
Likes: Bars, Batting Cages, Red Sox, f-ing with smart kids
Admirable Qualities: Every girl really wants a guy who could, if needed, beat up a yuppie or punk who deserves it. Will is capable of using his wits, but could settle the score outside too. He is a fun, yet frustrating person to be around. His crew of friends have hilarious stories and he can do your organic chemistry homework in less than an hour, but he refuses to live up to his potential or accept help from others. Yet, Sean (Robin Williams) manages to get Will out of his head and learn to depend on others. He leaves Boston for the first time in his life to “Go see about a girl.”
Joe Miller (Denzel Washington)
Bio: Hard charging lawyer to Andrew Beckectt (Tom Hanks) in wrongful termination suit.
Likes: Justice, wife and family
Admirable Qualities: We meet Joe sparing against Andrew in a case. Not coming from the powerful firm Andy does, Joe has to hustle for cases and approaches whoever he can. Once Andy is fired for being gay and having AIDS, Joe refuses to take the case at first. Seeing Andy mistreated in the law library stirs Joe to take on Andy’s case. Joe represents Andy with integrity, care, and a lot of style. He successfully agitates his opponents in the courtroom with questions starting with, ” Now, explain it to me like I’m a four-year-old” or asking them outright to admit to homophobia. He also becomes friends and another person in Andy’s support system.
Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes)
THE END OF THE AFFAIR (1999)
Bio: Novelist and lover to Sarah (Julianne Moore)
Likes: Writing, Making Obscure Literary References, Denying God
Admirable Qualities: Bendrix begins the story writing a “diary of hate” of his relationship with Sarah, her husband Henry (Stephen Rea), and the suspected Other that Sarah left him for during the Blitz. With Sarah, Bendrix was a clever, passionate lover. They fall in love discussing a film over a dish of onions. Their bond is strong, but strained by his jealously. No matter what Sarah says, Bendrix insists she will leave him eventually. She does leave him inexplicably after a German bomb “almost” kills him. Two years later, his love and memory of Sarah is so strong he can recognize the sound of her steps from rooms away. He hires Parkis (Ian Hart) to follow Sarah and discover who she is seeing and is surprised by what he finds. In pursuit he accidentally confronts a priest, reads her diary, and admits everything to her husband. He gets another chance with Sarah, but her illness dooms them both. Bendrix charitably moves into the house to care for Sarah and stays to care for Henry after she dies. Through all this, he finds a peace living with Henry and accepting in some way Sarah’s religious beliefs.