Movie Title: It’s a Wonderful Life
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 2 hr. 10 min.
Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo
Where did I watch it?: Home
It’s a Wonderful Life opens on the worst night of George Bailey’s (James Stewart) life. He is contemplating suicide. However, God intends to intervene. He summons two angels with the goal of saving Bailey. They go through George’s life, so that they might know something about the man. They explore his childhood where he saved his brother from drowning, lost his hearing in his left ear, and was beaten by a druggist. Young George Bailey has a desire to explore the world and see every exotic location he can get to.
George’s dreams are consistently put on hold. He wants to travel. He stays home. He wants to go to college and become an engineer. He takes a job at the local bank. He is happy, but he consistently puts the needs of others first. Everyone around George achieves fame, glory, or earns riches. George is broke and embroiled in scandal.
Donna Reed is excellent as George’s love interest Mary Hatch. Lionel Barrymore is also vital as the Scrooge character Mr. Potter who seeks to ruin George. Eventually, an angel is sent to visit George and shows him what his life would have been like if he had never existed at all. It is a beautiful movie.
It’s a Wonderful Life is often accused of sentimentalism because of its iconic lines, but at its core it is a dark movie. It is about giving up on dreams, depression, and economic struggle. It just has a hopeful outlook on coping with these struggles. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: Magnolia (1999)