A colleague of mine at work surprised me the other day when she told me that she had NEVER SEEN Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a movie which stars James Stewart and Donna Reed and was released in 1946! Yep, that’s SEVENTY years ago.
Though it’s release was many years ago, It’s a Wonderful Life (IAWL) is still a mainstay of the holiday season and with great reason too. The story revolves around George Bailey who – after a series of unfortunate events – wishes that he never was born. An angel called Clarence is sent to earth to make his wish come true and show George what life would be like for his friends, family, and indeed the community without him.
I always watch IAWL every year without fail at Christmas time, sometimes even twice. It’s a movie that I’ve known since my childhood. A movie that I have watched with my Mum, Dad and brother and it’s a movie that has always resonated with me – even more so as I’ve got older. It’s a movie also that you need to watch all the way through. It will undoubtedly be on television sometime around Christmas so if you haven’t seen it, it’s really worth checking out. To be honest, most films with Jimmy Stewart are worth checking out at least once but this movie is special.
Here are some of the reasons why.
1. The relationship between George Bailey and Mary Hatch.
Yes, at it’s heart, IAWL is a love story (yes, I’m soppy and no I don’t care). The relationship George and Mary have is quite special; she completes him. But she isn’t just some eye candy or trophy, she is a smart, interesting and caring woman (yes, she is also beautiful). One of the joys of watching this film is seeing their relationship blossom – it’s heart warming and also the sort of relationship any sane man can only dream of having.
2. The importance of community.
IAWL is not just a story about one man or just one couple but the placing of one man in his community. George runs Bailey’s Building and Loan company, a place which helps keep the local community afloat. Without spoiling the story for you guys, the importance of one man in his community and what he does for his community really shines through here.
IAWL is amazing in that it tackles suicide. George Bailey is drawn to a point where he wishes he no longer existed and the angel Clarence grants him the opportunity to see what life would be like without him. It’s a rather beautiful life lesson and as someone who has himself suffered from dark times and who has wondered whether the world would be better without him, it’s nice to be reminded that you as a person have no idea just exactly how much the world needs you and even if you think it is insignificant, those tiny ways that you do matter can actually be a whole lot.
All I will say is that at this festive time of year, IAWL brings you a very important message and a message that will serve you well at Christmas time.