Monday, June 28, 2010

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Three WWII veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. [imdb]

Nominated for 8 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: William Wyler (WINNER)
Best Actor: Fredric March (WINNER)
Best Supporting Actor: Harold Russell (WINNER)
Best Writing, Screenplay (WINNER)
Best Original Score (WINNER)
Best Editing (WINNER)
Best Sound
+ Honorary Award for Harold Russell, for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans through his appearance in The Best Years of Our Lives.

I've continued my slow-burning Best Picture winner odyssey with the 19th film to reach this honor. I had never seen Best Years... and expected something big and important, considering it was war-related, had lots of Hollywood stars and it brought William Wyler his 2nd Oscar. What I did get was something important, but not pleasant to watch, nothing to get really excited about.

I understand the importance of the film and from that point of view, it IS rather dated for a modern audience. I imagine seeing it after a long suffering war is not the same as seeing it in a 2010 context (a war still going on, but of a different size). And it's strange in a way, it might be the screenplay's fault: you might remember me praising Mrs. Miniver for the encouragement given in times of trouble, but I just didn't feel the same about Best Years... To me, this film lacks a sparkle of something special.

Fredric March clearly gives the best performance. As I'm not familiar with the competition in any of the main categories, I'll hold myself from decisive judgment. But I can tell when something looks like a winner, and this film doesn't to me; it has the ingredients, but I wouldn't vote for it. Neither for Supporting Actor Harold Russell, even if he does give an effective performance. The win for Best Director is up for debate; except for Dana Andrews's scene in the airplane reliving a war experience (terrific scene), there's hardly any big directorial challenge. Lots of coaster wins for the film (Stinkylulu invented the term, meaning going along with the flow).

My rating for the film: 6.5/10. Important, just that I found it slow and it didn't always catch my interest.

The next on the list, the 20th winner, is Gentleman's Agreement. I got familiar with it last year, and enjoyed it, for my Best Actress series. You can click HERE.

1 comment:

  1. I liked it a lot when I saw it, but it was two or three years ago since I did, so I should see it again.