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It's practically an American tradition to watch this film with family at Christmas time each year. I just saw it for the first time myself a couple weeks before last Christmas, and I loved it. It's an uplifting, inspiring, dramatic, and at times laugh-out-loud funny story, with a cast that probably couldn't be improved upon if you tried. And, of course, it's directed by the superb Frank Capra, whose work I greatly admire. James Stewart gives a raw, totally honest performance, as the unforgettable George Bailey, who on Christmas Eve is shown exactly why the world, or at least Bedford Falls, can't do without him. And, there is my favorite line in the whole movie, out of so many memorable quotes, delivered perfectly by Lionel Barrymore, as the evil Mr. Potter: "And a happy new year to you. In jail!"
Oh my goodness, I am not going to spend much time describing this gold standard of Christmas movies. If you have seen it, you know what it is. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading this and watch it now. It is funny, tense, sentimental, romantic and downright Capra-esque. I have liked Jimmy Stewart in everything I have seen him in. Was he that good, or did the camera just plain love him, like I heard said once about Steve McQueen. But it doesn’t stop there. If you notice the ensemble cast, you see represented some of the finest character actors out there. Between them it’s seems like we have seen one of them in every great classic movie. I don’t watch this every year any more - there is just too much to see out there this time of year. But I watch it every two or three years and besides, if I have some time to spare, I can practically review every scene in order in my mind. It is part of my Christmas consciousness. Wait, are you still reading this?
Lovely film. 'It’s a Wonderful Life' is enjoyable, hearty and well crafted. It takes longer than I would've predicted to get to 'the event', but it's very much worth seeing the journey that comes before - as we see the arc of James Stewart's George. It all crescendos with an ending that you can't help but smile at. Stewart is excellent in the lead role, you really do see every single emotion that his character goes through. He is, by far, the standout performer, but there are of course good performances from the likes of Donna Reed (Mary), Lionel Barrymore (Henry) and Henry Travers (Clarence). I did notice a few weird cuts in there, not that I hold that against it or did it affect my enjoyment - it's just noticeable. I see, via other reviewers, that there's a colour version - Channel 4 showed the black-and-white version over here in the UK. I can't say I felt the need for colour, which is always a good sign. Wholesome. Not that it, evidently given the average rating, needs to be said by someone like me, but: I'd certainly recommend this.
Every now and again you come across a film that just makes you think.... This is one of those. Recently upconverted to 4K and back on a big screen, it's quite simply a joy to watch. Jimmy Stewart is "George" - a man who has spent his adult life tirelessly trying to help those less fortunate to make their own way in life - and his savings and loan enterprise is the lifeline for many of them. When that all goes pear-shaped though, he feels a degree of despair that leads him to wish he had never been born. Enter the wonderful Henry Travers as "Clarence" - the visiting angel who grants his wish and demonstrates just how life would have looked had he, indeed, never been around. Lionel Barrymore is superb as his domineering competitor "Mr. Potter" who wants his name on everything in "Pottertown" that he doesn't already own. Donna Reed also shines as his wife, especially towards the end of this Capra masterpiece that uses shadow and the wintry weather to elicit a lovely sense of Christmas, but also of our innate need for warmth and security. It is sentimental, but not in a cloying fashion and the star works his magic, with a wonderful accompaniment from Dimitri Tiomkin, for over two hours that simply flies by. Well worth the restoration - not just of the film, but of our own faith in the human spirit - and watch, too!
This Christmas is going to be a bitch for a single mother and her son... Because He's a bastard!!!
A portrait of Highlights Magazine following the creation of the cultural phenomenon's 70th Anniversary issue, from the first editorial meeting to its arrival in homes, and introducing the quirky people who passionately produce the monthly publication for "the world's most important people,"...children. Along the way, a rich and tragic history is revealed, the state of childhood, technology, and education is explored, and the future of print media is questioned.
Ernestina is a small town of 150 people whose peculiar inhabitants are deeply concerned by the acts of vandalism perpetrated by the people who go bathe in the river. They decide to hire private security. What is really going on in Ernestina? A suspenseful, humorous and endearing documentary about the dynamics of these small-town people.
After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend just before the holidays, passionate baker Kylie reconnects with her high school sweetheart, Nick. Thanks to their newly rekindled friendship, Kylie uses Nick’s restaurant to prepare for a gingerbread baking competition with a large cash prize that would help her open her own bakery.
Holly Khun, known to Chicago as “Miss Christmas,” always finds a beautiful tree for the plaza, but this year’s was damaged, and the lighting ceremony is in 10 days. Hoping for a miracle, she combs through fan mail, and finds Joey McNary of Klaus, Wisconsin, has the perfect tree. Off she goes to Klaus, where she meets Joey’s handsome dad Sam.
Advertising execs Melanie Welsh and Donovan Goodwin disagree on a cellphone Christmas commercial they’re pitching. He says his sleek design will win over the client but she knows it lacks holiday spirit.
Allie, a veterinarian in Evergreen, reluctantly will spend Christmas with her long-distance boyfriend. Bound for the airport, she has engine trouble, and Ryan, headed to Florida with his daughter Zoe, stops to help. Sure they won’t meet again, they ignore their attraction, and part ways. At the diner, Zoe wishes on a snow globe, and a storm seems to grant her wish.
Weeks before Christmas, interior designer Laura is sent to her hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico to remodel a landmark hotel. As Laura is kept busy with the renovations, her 8-year-old daughter Nicole is introduced to the art of salsa dancing at a local dance studio. Laura is surprised to find that the studio’s owner is Ricardo, her old high school sweetheart and former salsa dance partner. When Laura and Ricardo reconnect, sparks fly on and off the dance floor. The beautiful Christmas traditions of New Mexico become the backdrop for spirited dancing and unexpected romance.
An aspiring fashion designer falls in love with her socialite client's prospective fiance, Prince Jeffrey.
Lydia, a successful professional organizer, is constantly trying to grow her business, but even her ambition takes a back seat to love when she meets Robert, a frazzled widower with two young children. A toy inventor, Robert is asked to present his new Christmas toy line to a superstore. His challenge is he only has 12 days to get his life and his business in order. Talk about a Christmas rush! Lydia shows Robert that this task goes way deeper than messy junk drawers and encompasses every aspect of his life. While she’s intent on helping him straighten out details he had long ignored, Robert teaches the buttoned-up Lydia that messiness can be a delightful part of life.
Forced to take the intercontinental trip to Los Angeles by train, and determined to chronicle his adventure, disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon finds himself westbound with a variety of characters. While all passengers on the Christmas train appear to be headed for the same destination, Tom has no idea that the rugged locomotives taking him across America will instead detour straight into his heart.