Having a woman love you is one of the best things about being alive.
Having two women who love you, however, isn’t double the fun. It’s a nightmare.
I imagine I am not alone in having the terrible experience of dating two girls at the same time when I was young. My goodness it was stressful. I learned my lesson.
“A Place in the Sun” is an unrelentingly grim film about a man in the middle of a tragic love triangle.
Montgomery Clift is soulful as always as George Eastman. The Eastmans are rich industrialists, but George is from the religious side of the family. He was raised by willfully poor, Salvation Army-style Christians.
Christianity and poverty aren’t his bag. So George uses his family connections to land a job.
Dating is not allowed among co-workers, but George is too darn handsome for that rule to stick. Before long, he is secretly dating Alice. It isn’t very serious.
It gets real serious when Alice discovers she is pregnant. Right around the same time, George starts dating the love of his life: rich, beautiful, kind Angela (Elizabeth Taylor).
George tries desperately to break off his relationship with Alice. He wants to enjoy the extraordinary true love he has found. But he can’t; he knows as well as we do that the truth is going to come crashing down on him.
You may think that George is just an irresponsible, two-timing jerk. And that’s fair. But Montgomery Clift’s incredible, desperate performance grabs your attention and your sympathies. He’s a tormented soul who can’t come clean. It is the part that Clift was born to play. As a closeted gay man, he knew a thing or two about soul-crushing secrets.
The unexpected surprise of “A Place in the Sun” is that it is subtly but forcefully pro-abortion. The A-word is never mentioned, but there’s a sad scene where Alice goes to the doctor and asks for help. He coldly turns Alice down.
I am not trying to be political. But one can’t help but conclude that the abortion would have made things less terrible for Alice, George, and Angela. And, for what it’s worth, it would have made no difference to the poor fetus.
This is a grim movie that keeps getting darker as it goes along. And that is appropriate. Dating two women at the same time sounds cool when you’re a young man. But it is not worth the work and not worth the stress. Just ask poor George Eastman.