This movie isn't rated. But let's call a spade a spade here. It's adorable.
DIRECTOR: Howard Hawks
If you liked Arsenic and Old Lace, you'll love this one.
Wait, I have to write more? I don't have time for this nonsense. That description is extremely telling and covers the gamut of my opinion. Everything else I write beyond this point is nonsensical word vomit and shouldn't be taking up valuable digital real estate. But wouldn't that make me a hypocrite? I make my students write a ton on whatever movie they're watching. Why can't I do the same for myself? (The real answer is that my reviews are way longer and I watch way more movies than they do.)
If there was such a thing a tonal Christmas movie that had nothing to do with Christmas, it would be this subgenre of slapstick romantic comedy. The same heartstrings are played upon. I think I catch myself smiling, laughing, and holding back happy tears when watching movies like Bringing Up Baby and Arsenic and Old Lace. There's something unashamedly joyful about the whole affair that makes these tonally perfect films. The writing is funny and the situations are larger than life. Yes, the characters are nearly constantly in some form of peril, either emotionally or physically. But there is never a concern for their safety. That would be the biggest coup in the world, Katherine Hepburn being mauled by a jaguar as the credits roll. But we are all aware that it can't happen in a movie like this. The tension, we always know, is a lie for our own benefit. It's being afraid for the daredevil who has done the trick a thousand times or being afraid that the lady might actually be sawed in half on stage. We need to feel that adrenaline rush and this might be the healthiest way of getting that emotional catharsis out of us.
The casting of Cary Grant might be the best symbol of this movie. Known for his charm, he helms a movie that is all about being charming. The characters in no way are based and reality and thank God that they aren't. They are archetypes that we will never meet because the romance wouldn't work in the real world. Katherine Hepburn's Susan would be a menace to society, unloved by all due to her ignorance to social norms. She also lacks a moral compass, but who cares? In other rom coms, I become livid when characters act like Susan. But because the movie doesn't even attempt to portray real characters with real emotional conflicts, Susan's selfishness comes off as adorable and charming. Again, charm in the buzzword for this movie.
I laughed! That's the point! I laughed at this movie a lot. My eyes were often rolling because it's absolutely absurd. But the movie is genuinely funny. The weird part is that I would never classify this amongst my favorite comedies, but I really do like it.
Finally, this is the beginning of a long line of movies that I've already seen. I don't know how this worked, but I ended up rewatching a lot of movies in the past few weeks, so don't be throwing accusations at me like "You hadn't seen this before?" I totally have. Also, I'd just be welcome for a comment once in a while.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.