I have written my eleventh film of Christmas review in the eleventh hour! I’m not sure how many of you will even read this or my next review, what with the joyous craziness of Christmas only a couple days away. I’ve barely had time to peruse WordPress myself, so forgive me if I haven’t been giving your blog all the love it deserves. Once I finish this series, I promise I’ll do my very best to catch up on every word. 🙂 Anyway, this is a film I have been saving for close to the end of this series because it’s one of my very favorites. For the eleventh film of Christmas my own DVD collection gave to me…It’s a Wonderful Life!
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Synopsis: “An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.” –www.imdb.com
The Holly Jolly:
- Jimmy Stewart. I love this man to pieces, and he is perfect in this role. As kind-hearted businessman George, Stewart gives a wonderful performance. Often cheeky and cheerful, occasionally grumpy, and sometimes thoroughly heartbroken, he brilliantly takes us through all the highs and lows of George’s life. Stewart was one of the greats, and this role proves it.
- The story. The first time I watched It’s a Wonderful Life, I wasn’t expecting much more than a sugary Christmas film, but this goes beyond that. This is the story of a good man’s life and an examination of how much one person can impact a community. It reaches surprising emotional depths, making it more than your basic feel-good holiday fare.
- The sweet love story. George and his wife, Mary (Donna Reed), have their ups and downs, but right from the beginning you’re rooting for them. As a little girl, Mary proclaims her love for young George, and it’s adorable. When they reconnect years later, the spark is undeniable, and when they get married, they have a great partnership. Stewart and Reed have fantastic chemistry.
- Clarence the angel. As an “Angel Second Class,” Clarence is still trying to earn his wings, and he’s sent to help George in order to do so. Portrayed by Henry Travers, Clarence is a mysterious, quirky, yet ultimately lovable little man. He’s a charming addition to the plot.
- All the glorious, iconic moments. George offers to lasso the moon for Mary. The recession hits, and George and Mary loan their honeymoon money to desperate customers. George runs through Bedford Falls, deliriously happy to be home. And then there’s the end, which I won’t ruin just in case you haven’t seen it. 😉
The Lumps of Coal:
- For those who have never seen the film, you may be thrown off by the first few minutes. Basically, galaxies are talking to each other. Strange, I know, but stick with it—it’s worth it!
- You may find this film corny. Especially if you’re not keen on family films and/or perfect endings. Personally, I’m able to get past that, but I’m also a bit of a sucker for happy endings, so…
- If you’re not used to the slower pacing of older films, this may drag a little for you. But I believe that the story and the performances are engaging enough that you won’t lose interest.
In a Nutcracker’s Nutshell: This is not just a Christmas film—it’s a classic. I would watch it any time of the year. The story is interesting, Stewart’s performance is stellar, and the message is moving. If you haven’t seen this film, you simply must change that sad, sad fact.
My Glad Tidings: A
Wow! Only one more review to go?! I can hardly believe it! I’ll be posting that tomorrow morning before all the Christmas festivities begin around here. After that, I will be taking a little break from blogging to spend time with the fam and relax. During this break, I will be crossing all of my fingers and toes that I will FINALLY find time to see Frozen. With the luck I’ve been having, you should cross your fingers for me, too. Also, I wanted to let you know that the fantastic Mr. MovieRob will be starting a Childhood Flashback Movie Challenge next month. Basically, he wants you to watch a movie you loved when you were a kid and see if it still appeals to your grown-up tastes. I’m pretty excited about this! I think it will be a fun series. If it sounds fun to you, too, why not pop over and let him know you’re interested?