Stephanie Zacharek at Current:
Loneliness and independence aren’t opposites but twins: Gemini states of being that can give even the shyest adventurers the courage to stride forth into the world. When a man refuses to be tied down, preferring freedom to all else, he’s an iconoclastic hero. But a woman without a partner, either by choice or by fate—or as the result of a choice she isn’t even conscious of having made—is often looked on with pity. If she’s younger, well-meaning friends reassure her that she still has time to find the right mate. If she’s older, it is assumed her ship has sailed, leaving her on some imagined shore of regret. For centuries, the term spinster—the very sound of the word conjuring grayness, the hollow ring of a lonely bell—was the easiest one to reach for in trying to describe a woman without a partner. And even today, the idea that a woman might cherish her freedom and at times feel incredibly lonely seems too complicated for many people to grasp.
Yet David Lean and Katharine Hepburn, paired as director and lead actor for Summertime (1955), capture this not-really-a-paradox in a cerebral pas de deux, as if each has found an unspoken understanding in the other.