You see, George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away? – Clarence Oddboy
A few days ago, a girl, who I considered my best friend, ended our friendship in an impromptu manner after ignoring me for a few days. I still don’t have a single clue why, but this situation left me completely shook. I have (or had in this case) a small group of friends and I am emotionally attached to them on an unfathomable level and all of them are, one-by-one, terminating our companionship. It had me depressed and thinking about my existence. Was I ever wanted ? Would it have even mattered if I hadn’t been born?
The hero of the story in Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life, George Bailey (James Stewart) is going through sort of a similar dilemma. He wonders if everyone would have been off better if he hadn’t been born. And there comes in Clarence Oddboy (Henry Travers) his guardian angel and shows him how the world would have been like if he hadn’t been born.
Some movies, and rarely does this happen I may assert, slowly but gradually creep into our lives. They have a humongous influence on our lives, even though we don’t admit it. There have been only few movies that have survived this test of time though, like Casablanca, 12 Angry Men, Best Years Of Our Lives, Anatomy Of A Murder, Tokyo Story and some more. I don’t think Citizen Kane belongs in these ranks. And before you ostracize me from the criticism fraternity for proclaiming the so-called greatest movie of all time from the ranks of a classic, let me explain my viewpoint.
I watched Citizen Kane a few days ago. Did I like it? Yes, I did. A few days after watching the movie, a friend approached me and asked if I could watch Citizen Kane with him. My reply was, “Oh, it’s a black and white movie ! Got Vertigo or something? ” I realize, if my friend had asked me to watch It’s A Wonderful Life, I would have jumped at the opportunity like a beggar jumps at a dime. Great movies transcend the boundaries of black-and-white and 35mm and everything else. They inhibit a spot where they become like vine. The longer you keep, the more it becomes better.
James Stewart is stellar here. What a great actor this man is ! One of the most genuinely controlled and heartbreaking and endearing performances of all times is this offering from Stewart. Donna Reed is heartbreaking here on her debut film. Okay, ever actor is fabulous, breath-taking, amazing, awesome, stunning, astounding, astonishing, awe-inspiring, stupendous, great,…. You get what I mean !
The power of this movie is resolute as it was. I was numbed after watching this flick. I was in a pretty dark place, but this one got me out. I owe this movie. I love this movie. I I had a chance to watch a movie every single day of my life, I think I would chose Moneyball, The Shawshank Redemption and it’s A Wonderful Life. These are the movies which make me realize why I love movies. Movies are the greatest art-form of all time. Why ? Because I don’t think ever will a painting, a dance, a song would ever make me fall in love with live again. Pardon, ever make me fall in love with myself again. At the end of this movie, I was sobbing inconsolably and laughing uncontrollably. The tears were of joy. I loved life all over again. I realized that my life matters as much as it can and I think those who can comprehend that, only deserve to be my friends. When you might feel this is the end of the rope, please watch this movie, because I will if I feel like that. There is nothing more inspiring or beautiful than this movie. The last time I felt like this after watching a movie was when I watched The Shawshank Redemption. Yeah, this one’s up that ranks. Is it a wonderful life ? Well, why wouldn’t it be if we have movies like these, my dear friend, why wouldn’t it be?
Rating : 9.9/10
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