by Pierre de Plume
Falling in love with love is falling for make believe,
Falling in love with love is playing the fool.
Caring too much is such a juvenile fancy,
Learning to trust is just for children in school.
I fell in love with love one night when the moon was full,
I was unwise with eyes unable to see.
I fell in love with love, with love everlasting,
But love fell out with me.
— “Falling in Love With Love,” lyrics by Lorenz Hart,
from the Broadway musical “The Boys From Syracuse” (1938)
Despite the cynicism expressed in the above lyrics about romantic love, I believe most of us are nevertheless a little bit in love with love. What keeps us going, I also believe, is the hope that our lives somehow will transcend the pragmatic aspects and conjoin at some level with our idealized notions of eros and, therefore, personal fulfillment.
Picnic, the film adaptation of William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play, seems designed to encourage viewers to indulge this fantasy while at the same time showing us the dangerous pitfalls and turmoil that adventurous, even unbridled love may bring. These themes are made evident not only through the film’s central romance but also through most of its characters. (more…)