Icing on the Cake

Vic Levin is more than a high school friend of mine. He and I lived seven-point-five miles apart – the distance between Amherst and Smith Colleges – and saw each other frequently during our college years. We became good friends.

I wish I had recorded some of our conversations from those days. They were philosophical, idealistic, hopeful, regretful, depressing, and mostly funny. Together we saw movies (he could quote the movie Casablanca verbatim!), met for dinners, and enjoyed long walks on the cool nights. We never ran out of things to say.

My favorite memory involves a particular party to which Vic invited me. There, he introduced me to Prince Albert of Monaco. It was a fun, cool, once-in-a-lifetime encounter, but I became more fahrklempt over a Greek guy (he literally was a Mediterranean hunk from Greece) who asked me to dance. THAT chance meeting led to a steamy two-week fling that Vic teases me about to this very day.

After our college graduations, Vic and I didn’t see each other for many years. I always knew, however, that his writing talents, humor, and drive would enable him to achieve success in the film industry. And they did. Vic has earned numerous credits and recognition as a writer, producer, and director in television and film.

*     *     *

Friday night is the opening of 5 to 7 in Atlanta. Vic is the writer, and director, of this lovely romantic film. It tells of an affair between a single young writer and a beautiful married French woman. Their tryst, however, comes with rules; they only can rendezvous weekdays between the hours of five and seven o’clock in the evening.

Since I couldn’t wait for a theatre screening, I watched the movie on pay-per-view. The theme (the movie’s concept is based on a true story) started me wondering… Can you be happily married, openly choose to have a meaningful long-term affair with someone else, yet still remain happily married?

I always maintained, especially since I saw the movie When Harry Met Sally, that men and women cannot be platonic friends for the long-term because sex will get in the way eventually. So, when I saw 5 to 7, my instinctive reaction was loud and clear. In my opinion, one cannot be deeply committed to and equally love both a spouse and a lover. (But, since I don’t want to spoil the movie for you, I won’t tell you whether I was proved right or wrong.) Eventually, one will have to yield.

But, I will share something from an interview with Vic about the film. He was asked if the movie was optimistic. He replied, “It depends on how you feel about impermanence. It depends on whether or not something has to be happily ever after…I don’t think that. I accept impermanence as a positive. I think every time you love intensely it’s a worthwhile and wonderful experience — perhaps the most important thing we’re put on earth to do… It speaks to an extremely rewarding aspect of our lives.”

His comment resonates with me. “Every time you love intensely it’s a worthwhile and wonderful experience.” Loving is uniquely human. You can’t control with whom you fall in love. Loving, and being loved in return, can make life worth living. Love is an endeavor worth pursuing. Love is the icing on the cake.

Go see 5 to 7. Let me know what you think.

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