The love story of Charlotte Vale, a middle-aged spinster who suffers a nervous breakdown because of her domineering mother and is finally freed after a brief love affair with Jerry, a man she meets while on a cruise after spending time in a sanitarium. They never marry, but through a miracle of chance Vale ends up raising his daughter for some time.
Now Voyager is a great 1940s melodrama starring my favorite actress Bette Davis. Her transformation from the spinster aunt to a confident, attractive feminist is fabulous and could not have gotten there with the help of her co-stars Claude Rains and Paul Henreid. Rains the ever guiding doctor and Henreid, her star-crossed lover who has a non-verbal “I’ll have what she’s having” lighting two cigarettes at once, one for Charlotte and the second for himself. The small gesture is so sexual and intimate it almost makes one want to take up smoking.
There are also some great lines in the film, a few of them are:
Mrs. Henry Windle Vale: No member of the Vale family has ever had a nervous breakdown.
Dr. Jasquith: Well there’s one having one now.
Charlotte Vale: [to her mother] I didn’t want to be born. You didn’t want me to be born. It’s been a calamity on both sides.
Dr. Jasquith: Remember what it says in the Bible, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.”
Charlotte Vale: How does it feel to be the Lord?
Dr. Jasquith: Not so very wonderful, since the Free Will Bill was passed. Too little power.
And, of course, the last line is spoken by Charlotte Vale which has as much impact as Vivien Leigh’s “After all tomorrow is another day.”
Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.
This short review is not giving the film justice, but it is a fantastic film even now and is far from your typical romance.