It's a Wonderful Life
It's a Wonderful Life directed by Frank Capra(1946)
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James Stewart, Donna Reed, Henry Travers, Lionel Barrymore
Nothing I can
say would truly do justice to this film. While most people view it as a sappy Christmas story, it is oh so much
more. George Bailey, like so many of us, is a man who has had to watch all of his dreams fly away in order to
fulfill the responsibilities of life. He has always acted selflessly and for the good of other, no matter the cost
to himself. We get to see this from the time he was a boy, to the time his father dies, to the time his brother
gets married, to the depression, to WWII. In his darkest hour, on Christmas Eve, he decides it would be better for
everyone if he was dead. Even on the verge of suicide, George acts selflessly saving another man from drowning.
That man turns out to be Clarence Oddbody, Angel Second Class, who shows George what the world would be like if he
had never lived. The vision is a dark and twisted version of his hometown and friends. It is actually a very dark
and depressing sequence. As has been said, Capra delivers happy endings, but he makes you work for them. And of
course, once George, and the viewers, realize how wonderful life really is, just being with the people you love, we
get our sappy, happy ending. But boy did we work for it. If you don't get watery-eyed during the finale of this
film, you're heart is probably two sizes too small.
could have made this movie, which is probably why no one before him was able to make it work. Donna Reed is
fantastic. Lionel Barrymore is suitably evil. The supporting characters are all wonderfully cast.
Stewart, who is always likeable on-screen, is perfect as George. Stewart is able to show George's growing
bitterness and resentment at how his life has gone. He shows us George's happiness and unhappiness. The
overwhelming despair when he's about to loose it all. The terror as he tours Pottersville. The indescribable joy as
he makes it back to Bedford Falls and the people he loves. Through Stewart's performance, he takes us all through
the full emotional gamut, and makes the payoff, sappy and Capra-corny as it may be, all the more
film, not just for Christmas, but for anytime. I watch it several times every year and never fail to end up
blubbering like a baby by the end.
It's a Wonderful Life directed by Frank Capra was reviewed
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