It's a Wonderful Life (1946) is more than a holiday movie to me. I have a sign hanging over my front door that reminds me every time I leave the house that "It's a Wonderful Life." It's the perfect mixture of dark despair and bright redemption. It's a love story, a life story, a family story, and a hopeful story. It has tragedy, comedy and a lingering moody sweetness. I never make it through the end without crying. It's my favorite Christmas movie, and one of my top ten favorite movies of all time.
George Bailey is about to commit suicide on Christmas Eve because his business has gone bankrupt, and he comes to believe that the world would be better off without him. His guardian angel Clarence is sent to show him how much his life has impacted so many people and how much good he has brought to the world. The story is told mostly in flashback, just the story of a man living the best he can, and we see how much differently the world of Bedford Falls would have been without George.
Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are wonderful, and Henry Travers is endearing and adorable as the Angel Second Class. What this movie has given me is the knowledge that we each touch others' lives every single day, and it's just as easy to leave some joy and goodness behind as it is to leave negativity. Every day is a gift, as sentimental as that sounds, and it's important to share that gift with those around you.
I can be sarcastic, silly, and even a bit moody myself sometimes. On this gray, cold morning, It's a Wonderful Life reminds me that I too am a very rich person. Not too bad for a movie that was considered a box office flop when it was released. Watch it this Christmas. And watch it once a month, all year long, just to remind yourself of how wonderful life is.
That concludes my sappy post for the season. . .