To me, the film evoked sympathy for the main character, Rick Blaine. In the beginning, he demonstrates that he only looks out for his own self-interests by letting Ugarte go to jail after he tries in vain to buddy up to Rick. Later, he contradicts his original sentiment helping the man and wife win money in order to get their letters of transit to travel to the United States. To me this is significant to Rick’s character because he tries to play the tough guy, however his image is thwarted when a situation that involves honesty and truth presents itself. Ugarte represented neither of these traits being a murdering thief who tried manipulating Rick to gain his support. Another example of his selfless activity occurred before the movie took place. By describing Rick’s involvement in running guns to Ethiopia, as well as fighting on the nationalist side of the Spanish Civil War the viewer gets a better picture of Rick’s true personality and where his faith lies. Rick is definitely a romantic.
Rick’s romanticism becomes a key element to the plot when his old flame, Ilsa Lund and her husband Rick Laszlo arrive at Blaine’s bar in Casablanca. Tension rises when Ilsa asks the piano man, Sam to play her and Rick’s old song from France. More importantly though, her arrival brings about a transformation in Rick. He is no longer the neutral player we had seen before. He has become a man that feels, someone who knows true love and has lost it. It always strikes me to see a man cry. Especially when the man is someone who is as iron as Rick. A man that hides himself behind a mask of concrete to keep his feelings walled inside himself. To see him release was to witness his transformation. After he let down his wall to realize that love is something special that comes as quickly as it goes he began to become a better person. A person who can empathize with others. Someone who sees a situation for more than its affect on oneself, and more so its affect on the entirety of the situation. To me this is what allows him to ultimately let Ilsa leave. To do something better for someone you love is to be noble. He put himself aside to deal with his predicament in the correct manner. Sometimes it takes sorrow to create a better, more-ordered end. Rick is immortalized as a badass through the movie because of his ability to overcome what he has lost, as well as his willingness to let go of what he could have had. He is a character worthy of my respect and emulation. Rick Blaine is truly cool.