I was more than pleased to see that Vincenzo had selected Frank Capra’s perennial classic It’s A Wonderful Life to kick off this year’s Christmas challenge. It has always been something of a tradition in my household to watch it on Christmas Eve before bed (something I will still be doing) and I was happy to get an early dose in this year.
I really do not know what it is about the movie that captures my heart and mind. Is it the struggle of George Bailey to live up to everything his father was all the while chomping against that bit of selflessness and goodwill? Is it the cast that so well portrays the people and their struggles in a small town in the early 1900s? Is it Donna Reeds timeless beauty? It is all of that and more.
I have not stopped to read Vincenzo’s take on the movie yet because I want to give you my own untainted view but I will proceed by answering the question in his title. We watch It’s A Wonderful Life because we crave to see a man fight against his worse nature and instincts and come out on the side of goodness and prosperity. You see it is my theory that George Bailey is the other side of Mr. Potter’s coin. Both are intelligent, shrewd, and frustrated men. Both men want to see themselves better and have that secret voice whispering in their ears that if other people were meant to succeed then they would work harder to do so. The difference is, of course, Peter Bailey and his role in George’s life.
Being raised by Peter Bailey instilled within George the idea that not every person gets the breaks they need to prosper in this world. Every person needs a helping hand now and then. Perhaps the most poignant scenes in the film are those in which we see George fight internally against his own nature and come out on the side of charity without fail. Seeing George chose to help people again and again at the expense of his own happiness makes the final scene wherein we see how appreciated his efforts have been all the more joyous.
I will leave you with these corny but nonetheless true words: No man is a failure who has friends.
Atta boy, Clarence
All Geeks Considered