HAPPY NEW YEAR, FILM LOVERS! I wanted to bring in the new year with a Christmas film which I watched for the first time last year and kick off 2019 with a review of a story which holds a lovely message.
It’s a Wonderful life is a truly wonderful film made by Frank Capra and is beautifully written and beautifully made. It is the Christmas movie which will survive all Christmas films and should be watched year on year. It is an ageless black and white Hollywood classic which will be passed down through generations to remind everyone of the true spirit of Christmas and how each and every one of us should try to live our lives. It has become the annual festive film for many families and will remain to be for many years to come.
It starts off with a slightly cringey, outdated image of some stars talking about what’s going on down on earth and whether an angel needs to be sent to help out in order for the angel to earn his wings. Even with this cringey image to start off, the film outdoes itself and makes up for it in so many other ways.
The story revolves around the life of George Bailey, played by James Stewart, who is a lovely young boy with many life plans, dreams and wishes as he grows up. He wants to travel the world and go to college and life a wonderful and fulfilling life. However, he ultimately ends up sacrificing everything for others as curveballs keep coming his way and he has to keep putting off the life he wants to live. He has responsibilities at home which he can’t leave at his father’s building society, marrying his child hood sweetheart, played by Donna Reid, and keeping the town happy following an unfortunate misplacing of a large sum of money.
It’s a Wonderful Life is sentimental, touching, joyous and incredibly romantic; everything we look for in a Christmas film. In a way, the film is like a modern day A Christmas Carol, only in reverse. The “ghost” shows him what life for everyone would be like without him and his wonderful and happy ways, if he was not born. Instead of a horrible old man being shown to buck up his ideas, it tells the story of a hero who needs picking up again from despair .
Not only is it a Christmas film, I truly believe we should watch this any time of the year when needing a pick-me-up (I watched it back in July!!). Or if we need a little reminder of what people could be like when we find humanity hauls us into despair. Frank Capra didn’t ever intend it to be a Christmas film so we should watch it as we will. It was his first film after returning back from the war and wanted to make a film which celebrated ordinary people who did amazing things for others.
It’s such a gem and I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to see it. If you’ve not seen it, make it a priority, don’t wait for next Christmas!
It’s a Wonderful Life fell out of copyright many years ago so should be easy to find as most platforms will have it free to view. I watched it on Sky Movies.
All my love & films