“It’s a Wonderful Life” is probably my all time favorite movie. The love I feel for it borders on unnatural. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it. Maybe twenty. Probably more. It slays me every time. But I still want to watch it every year around the holidays. My family? Well, not so much.
They’ve seen it almost as many times as I have. In testimony to that fact, its lines have become a part of our family’s lexicon. We’ve been known to shout, after any cacophonous, painful-sounding crash, “I’m alright! I’m alright!” My husband and I have often lamented in gest, “Why do we have to have all these kids?” And after every banking scandal of the past decade, of which there have been many, we’ve also been known to say, “The money’s not here. Your money’s in Joe’s house…”
I could keep going with the quotes, but you get the idea. And I don’t want to watch anyone else scatter the way my family does whenever I bring up watching this movie. Again.
Okay, so the 135 minute running time might be off-putting, especially in the day and age of Instagram and snapchat. And yeah, it was made in 1946, so there’s the black and white thing (and if you like the creepy colorized version, I respectfully request you stop reading immediately and quite possibly, unfriend me on Facebook now.) But I just love the story so much.
How often in life do we take for granted the things we have? The important things—like friends and family. How often do we see ourselves as failures for unfulfilled dreams? It’s all too easy to lose sight of a wonderful life we may be having when we focus on everything we don’t have, on everything that’s gone wrong, on the unfair twists and turns of fate. It’s easy to become discouraged.
JOSEPH: A man down on earth needs our help.
CLARENCE: Splendid! Is he sick?
JOSEPH: No. Worse. He’s discouraged.
Maybe this is why I love this movie so much. It reminds me to be grateful. It reminds me of what’s important. It reminds me I am having a wonderful life.
Tonight, I have the house to myself for a while and I plan on going downstairs and watching my all time favorite movie, that is if I can figure out all the stupid remotes. And maybe when my family arrives, as long as we’re past the part where Mr. Gower clocks George on the ear (terrified the children when they were little) and my husband isn’t too annoyed about the newel post that’s been missing from the bannister in our ancient Victorian home since we moved in, they’ll join me.
But even if they don’t, for a little while, I’ll still feel like the richest woman in town.
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