Monday, June 07, 2010

best films: #25: IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)

Previously ranked and blogged at #29
What can I say - I'm a sucker for the unworn classics, and you can't get much more traditional or classic than It's a Wonderful Life. Thanks to constant repeat viewings at basically every major holiday (particularly Christmas, of course), the film has been cemented in my mind as one of the key factors of how I got so interested in movies in the first place. James Stewart is perfection as George Bailey, one of the ultimate heroes of filmdom, a sometimes hard-on-his-luck small-towner who loses the will to live. And then there's Donna Reed, who will forever and always be Mary Hatch Bailey, the heart of George Bailey's life and the sweetest most good-natured movie mom I've laid eyes on. Call it schmaltzy at times, but there's one thing that you can't fault It's a Wonderful Life for, and that's a shortage of great performances and truly heartwarming moments that simply cannot be copied nor doubted. Other films have sure tried to mimic the earnestness of this one, but none can top its instilling of important things in life - loving and caring for your family in times of need, cherishing the blessings that you have, and helping out your neighbors, even if it means sacrificing a great deal of your personal wealth. So mark this date on your calendars, people, as the date that Luke got a little mushy on you. When you think of It's a Wonderful Life, though, doesn't it give cause to be a little mushy?

Standout Performance: A stellar role for the always great Stewart, whose George is damaged, brave, smart, uneven, and heartwarming all at once. He's what moviegoers want to see - a hero who thrived out of first being a failure.

1 comment:

Jose said...

So good and so un-sentimental in a way. I wish more directors knew how to make films like Capra.