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The reason why we watch 'It's a Wonderful Life' every Christmas...

We should all be aware of the heartbreaking story behind ‘It’s a wonderful life’ as we embark on the beautifully tragic tale of George Bailey, a man at his breaking point, a man with nothing else to live for. The poignant story of a son, father and husband wanting to end their life is all the more upsetting when it is because of the pressures of Christmas, which is why this film resonates with its audiences, it is truly relatable to a certain degree. Everyone can understand the pressures, expectations and stress of supporting a family and/or a business at Christmas, which is why George Bailey is one of the most heroic characters.

As George is about to jump from a bridge, he ends up rescuing his guardian angel, Clarence - who then shows George what his little American town would have looked like if he hadn’t existed and contributed so much over the years. The story is somewhat similar to the concept of A Christmas Carol but this film shows George Bailey a world without him, which impacts him all the more, watching as his family disappear and his decisions change the course of so many peoples lives.

Believe it or not but our dearly beloved Christmas classic wasn’t always seen as one of the best holidays movies of all time. When Frank Capra's melancholy Christmas movie first came out in 1946, it received mixed reviews from critics and didn't make much of an impression with audiences. It underperformed rather significantly. Actually, it flat-out bombed at the box office, failing to recoup the $6.3 million it would need to break even. Which I find very hard to believe but this movie was ahead of its time, it resonates with audiences now because of its purity, its raw narrative that shows a man at breaking point! Modern audiences can appreciate this style of story because it feels very real and this reality of course is supported by the one and only James Stewart. James Stewart is still considered an excellent actor to this day, he has an essence about him, he captivates the screen and steals the attention. Stewart carries this movie on his incredible acting, without the emotionally exhausted George Bailey we have no movie. Yes, the story is unique but as I said, with no humanity this film is not relatable and would have never left such a strong message with its audiences, appreciate life and appreciate yourself and those around you.

To conclude, It’s a Wonderful Life is a movie families will want to watch time and time again because it’s human, it is a depiction of life at its worst but in order to come back to reality we need to value and cherish ourselves and the ones we love. It’s a Wonderful Life encourages us to pause for a bit and take in life rather than trying to adhere to rules and expectations of us that are just too far to reach. George Bailey is a character that will never fail to entertain us because he doesn’t hide his humanity, George Bailey teaches us that everyone struggles and everyone hits lows that seem inescapable but when you look right in front of you the answer is normally right there, family, friends and love. This type of message resonates with audiences all year round but there is something special about Christmas time and there is something truly beautiful about George Bailey running through his town appreciating everything around him, we should all take a page from Bailey’s book. With the incredibly difficult year we leave behind us, just remember that you got though it and you might not have without believing in yourself and loving those around you.


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Welcome to Film Probe, a platform where I have dedicated my time and energies to reviewing films, tv and more. I pride myself on offering more than just an opinion, but rather a carefully crafted insight into the film's themes, characters, and overall production.

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