"Look at us, C’mon look at us. See? A couple of bums."
Description: Jack Lemmon as an alcoholic named Joe looks into a mirror with wife, Kirsten (Lee Remick) and realizes the toll that drinking alcohol has taken on them both in the motion picture Days of Wine and Roses (1962).
Joe Clay is a happy-go-lucky account executive for a public relations firm in San Francisco. His job requires him is to wine and dine his clientele, and boy, Joe is good at the drinking part.
One day, Joe meets Kirsten Arnesen, a lovely young secretary whose father runs a nursery. Kirsten is not into drinking; she prefers chocolate over booze. To draw here into the club, Joe introduces her to a Brandy Alexander (brandy, dark crème de cacao, and half-and-half with a touch of nutmeg). Within a short time, they marry and both begin to indulge deeply in a dark world of drinking booze on a regular basis.
Ultimately, Joe sees the truth in his existence and confronts Kirsten with their problem. Grabbing his wife, Joe forces her to look into a mirror where he confesses. “I walked by the Union Square Bar, I was going to go in. Then I saw myself—my reflection in the window—and I thought, ‘I wonder who that bum is.’ And then I saw it was me. You’re a bum. Look at you.” He then tells his wife. "Look at me! Look at you. You're a bum. Look at you. And look at us. Look at us. C'mon look at us! See? A couple of bums."
Joe decides to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, while his wife tries to go it alone. In the end, the couple breaks up, and Joe takes his daughter Debbie (Debbie Megowan) with him. Joe has been successful going a year without a drink. His wife, however still has not kicked the habit.
One night, Kirsten shows up at Joe's apartment and confesses she still drinks and loves to drink because it keeps her from seeing how dirty the world is. Joe, she asks, "remember Fisherman's Wharf? The water when you looked too close? That's the way the world looks to me when I'm not drinking." Joe can't accept her reality and offers this solution.
"You remember how it really was? You and me and booze - a threesome. You and I were a couple of drunks on the sea of booze, and the boat sank. I got hold of something that kept me from going under, and I'm not going to let go of it. Not for you. Not for anyone. If you want to grab on, grab on. But there's just room for you and me - no threesome."
When Kirsten leaves Joe's apartment, she walks down the street as a neon sign from a bar blinks on an off in the night. Joe looks on from his window with both despair and yet hope that one day his wife will find the courage to quit the booze and return to him and their daughter.
Note: The title for the motion picture Days of Wine and Roses (1962) is based on a line from the 1896 short poem "Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam" by English writer Ernest Dowson [1867-1900]:
'They are not long, the weeping and the laughter.
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.'