Growing up, it was a tradition in our house to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" every year at least one time during the month of December. As a kid, I liked the movie. I liked the swimming pool scene and Clarence and the fact that the citizens of Bedford Falls all chip in to help George and they all live happily ever after. But, as I've grown older, I like the film less and less. In fact, I don't think I've watched it all the way through in at least five years. The last time I watched it, I wanted to pummel George's uncle for losing the money and I wanted to slap Mr. Potter for being an evil money grubber and knowingly withholding the dough to cause George and his family financial ruin.
For the most part, it's a very DARK film. Look at this trailer, which makes it out to be some fun filled romantic romp with Christmas cheer. It's no wonder that the film was poorly received when it was released.
And yes, death figures prominently in this Christmas classic. George saves a lot of people from dying, he takes over the family business when his dad dies, and in the end, Clarence saves George from ending his own life. Dark!!!
So to save myself from sounding like a total grinch, the real take away message of this film is that we do impact all the people around us. A lot of the time we don't even realize it or see our own value in the grand scheme of things. We may think we're just some speck of sand in the giant sandbox of life. But, truth be told, we are all important and when we're gone, someone is going to miss our wit or our baking abilities or our craftiness or whatever it is we do.
So, is this one of your favorite holiday classics? If not, what is? This year I'm leaning towards Elf.