Does a life of sacrifice matter?
Can you give up your dreams and still have a wonderful life?
Is there more to life than pursuing your own desires?
This is one heart-wrenching, awe-inspiring movie. You can’t help but cheer for George Bailey. You can’t help but want something to go his way once along the way. But it doesn’t. He never wins. He never gets what he wants. He just barely gets the girl, okay, so in this case he really does win. He loves and loses all the way and in the end, he’s standing tall as the biggest winner you could imagine. In fact, and I just went and looked this up… “It’s a Wonderful Life” just last year won the award from the American Film Institute for the most inspiring American movie of all time. I thought “To Kill a Mockingbird” was it, but thankfully, this is number one, and I love “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Not bad for a movie that came out way back in 1946.
This movie has everything good about movies, but, most importantly it has an amazing lead character (have I ever mentioned here that I love James Stewart as an actor, I think when we’re done going through all of AFI’s top whatever list, I’m going to try to convince Sabrina that a James Stewart marathon would be a valuable thing!) When George heads home screaming to the Bedford Falls sign, the car, the savings and loan, and anyone in ear shot, chills run down my spine. One part Jimmy Stewart, one part great moment.
My only complaint with the movie is that the old banker, Potter, never does get his comeuppance. Not officially. When George tells him off, you certainly see him acting out the way you feel watching the movie.
The pain of watching George lose it at home is really sad and hard to take. You have to feel for the whole family who are now suffering the consequences of their husband and father living his life for others. This does not justify the man of the house going off on his own children, but to see such an honourable man turn so, well, I think the only word is “insane”, is painful and sad. It gives me pause as a George Bailey wanna-be.
I’ve also been looking for parallels in the life of George Bailey and the life of Jesus. I’m seeing two people living their lives for others, one a capitalist, the other, the Son of God. Both though, doing things for the poor, those the upper crust of society are ignoring or taking advantage of. They both come to a crisis; George faces death on the bridge, Jesus at the cross, both wondering if there is some other way. Jesus cry for Jerusalem reminds me of poor George heading home from the bank after 8000 dollars goes missing. Likely the one word that stands out to most people who have watched this movie would be the word, “sacrifice”. Sacrifice. Sacrifice. Giving up yourself for another. Sacrifice. Greater love has no man than this! In this, George Bailey is the poor shadow of the rich original in Jesus.
A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town.