I am coming out of hibernation to contribute a post to Sally's annual 12 Days of Christmas Movies. This year I am going to be talking about Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life. This post isn't as detailed as I would like it to be, but I hope it reminds you to check out this film this holiday season. (For last year's contribution, here is my post on Christmas in Connecticut.)
I know a lot of people see this movie as sentimental schmuck, but on the other side of the spectrum are those who find the movie too dark (like the original 1946 audience).
Recently I've read a few posts that [humorously] expound the fact that the world would probably have been a lot better off if George Bailey had offed himself…or better yet, that he'd never been born in the first place. While I believe we all interpret films differently and each of us is entitled to our own opinions, I respectfully disagree. Sure, there are flaws with this film. I'm not saying that it is perfect and that I love every part of it, but I think the overall positive and powerful message overcomes any negative aspects.
This is not something that I have talked about much on here (since it is, after all, a movie blog), but I know what it is like to be depressed, to feel like your life is worthless, that it would have been better if you had never been born. Having felt this way I can really relate to what George goes through.
I think the beauty of this film lies not in it's perfectly conceived plot or airtight characterizations. It lies in the enduring message that each of us has a place in this world, that no matter how difficult or trivial our lives seem, or how many mistakes we make, we still matter. We have a role that no one else can fill. That message has a lot to do with the hope of Christmas, too. For isn't it a tiny Savior that came over two millennia ago to save us from our shortcomings, and to raise us to new life?
By now you might be thinking, "Um, Audrey, aren't you taking this a little far?" Hey, never underestimate the power of film!
Have a very Merry Christmas and holiday season, everyone! May God bless you all!