It’s A wonderful Life is a Christmas classic that is always worth watching during the festive period. I recently took my wife to see a showing at the BFI Southbank in London as she had never seen it. As expected, tears were shed, but not just by my wife. Cinemas nationwide will always show this emotional masterpiece at this time of year and I would recommend everyone to seek it out.
A surprising number of people haven’t seen it. Yes it is old, made in 1946, yes it is in black and white and no it is not in widescreen or 3D, but it will draw you in as much as any special effects-laden modern film. The story follows James Stewart as George Bailey who is considering suicide on Christmas Eve and through flashbacks and input from his second class guardian angel Clarence George, learns it really is a wonderful life.
Stewart provides an acting masterclass with moments of comedy, heart-wrenching tragedy and emotional clout. As the camera holds on Donna Reed‘s eyes, even the most stone-hearted individual will instantly understand everything she is feeling and also find themselves on the brink of tears.
The film flies by despite a running time just over 2 hours and no film since has so sincerely captured the Christmas spirit. It is a gateway film into what is known as the golden age of Hollywood whilst modern Hollywood churns out the annual festive-by-the-numbers parcel of predictability (this year it’s Christmas With The Coopers).
Seeing a film at the cinema is always a more special and communal experience. This classic still produces an emotional punch with a message as relevant today as it was when first released. For many people this film defines Christmas and for the people who haven’t seen it yet, I implore you to seek it out at the cinema. I am jealous of the people yet to watch It’s Wonderful Life as they have a truly “wonderful” experience ahead.