TMG Scale 9.0
Starring Jim Carey, Martin Landau, Hal Holbrook, David Ogden Stiers, James Whitmore
TMG has raved about this film more often than most. It shows the great range an actor like Jim Carey has and the opportunities he should be given to do more serious roles. Will Ferrel has done it at least twice with Stranger than Fiction (2006) and Everything Must Go (2011). Robin Williams has many times. [August Rush (2007), Insomnia (2002), Good Will Hunting (1997) just to name a few. Even Elvis got to once really show his ability to really act in a drama [Flaming Star (1960)]
Peter Appleton (Carey) is an young screenwriter in1951 Hollywood. A McCarthy style Congressional inquisition discovers he attended a Communist meeting during college. His recent movie is cancelled by the studio. Appleton drowns himself in self-pity and gets drunk. He takes a long drive along the coast, wrecks into the water and eventually he and his car wash up on the beaches of a small town called Lawson. He has amnesia. The local townsfolk think he looks strikingly familiar. Harry Trimble (Landau) the proprietor of the defunct, downtown local movie theater, believes him to be his son Luke—a son long thought lost in WWII. Even Luke’s old girlfriend believes. Peter is reluctant but resigns himself to morph into Luke. The town, which lost over 60 men in the War, now has something to rally around. They pronounce their home town boy a found hero. His Dad is rejuvenated. So is the town. They decide to revive the town movie house, The Majestic. Life is good again. We now have a film and story Frank Capra would be proud of. Truly, It’s a Wonderful Life.
But all is not as it seemed or was hoped for in Lawson. But the real question is does it really matter? Hope is a precious and wonderful commodity and can drive people to accomplish to much than when hope and faith is lost. The basis for hope need not be real. Hope stands on its own. As it turns out, Luke/Peter, is just a guy trying to figure things out. Aren’t we all?
This film is a must see for all ages. I refuse to spoil it by saying much more. It was a commercial failure. IMDb reports it cost $ 72 million to make and only made less than half that. Often great movies just are not given the hope for success they deserve.