Wednesday 17 December 2014

12 Days of Christmas - Day 4 It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

You may remember this film was noted in my Against the Crowd Blogathon post (if you missed it, check it out here) so this was never going to be a good review.

The story of George Bailey (James Stewart) a kind Businessman who has spent his life running his fathers business to ensure the town stays out of the clutches of ruthless businessman, Mr Potter (Lionel Barrymore).  When his Uncle Billy loses $8000 of the companies money, George is at risk of losing his business and going to jail and decided his family would be better off if he were dead.
I have nothing technically against this film, I think my Dad just hyped it up so much over the years that when I finally got round to watching it, it was a bit boring and slow.  I found all the characters extremely annoying, particularly the children to the point that I didn't really care if they were happy or not!  George, who you are supposed to sympathise with is a selfish wet fish, he would seriously consider leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves.  I fully understand that depression can be crippling and leave you unable to think rationally but it still makes me more angry than sympathetic.  He has quite obviously been unhappy with his life for a long time for this to push him to the brink of suicide but he appears unwilling to ask for any kind of help instead just giving up.

I am fully aware that had he asked for help and the town helped him out, it would have been a much shorter film and even less interested but it's just something that bothered me throughout.

One memorable element of the film was James Stewart, although I didn't like his character that doesn't mean to say he didn't do a good job.  His subtle gestures really made the character come to life, one thing I noticed what his ability to 'fake' smile while running the business and helping the town instead of seeing the world.  In one smile to a customer or local townsperson he can portray  George's years of disdain at being stuck in Bedford Falls just by the sadness in his eyes.

I found the whole film to drag and ended up being quite forgettable (if my Dad didn't shove the DVD box in my face from 1st December onwards!). It is not entertaining by any means, if there was any humour present, I missed it and it just moved so slowly.  Maybe, I have been brainwashed by the fast paced, CGI packed movies of my time and can't appreciate a classic anymore (this theory will be tested with my first viewing of White Christmas this year!)

My annoyance at the introduction to main part of the movie may have ruined the rest for me.  Maybe I'm just overthinking it - either way not a movie for me! Sorry!

1 comment:

  1. :-(

    I love this movie, but the hype around it being 'the best ever' is a little overkill, I'll give you that. In fact, the actually Oscar winner that year (The Best Years of Our Lives) is a better film, despite having so much backlash for being the winner over this one. 1946 was a great year for film though. I'm sad you didn't take to this one though. I'm glad you at least appreciated what Stewart did with the role.