The Best Years of Our Lives

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In case you were unaware, I absolutely love movies from the 1940’s. No matter how things are looking, they always have an incredibly happy endings (unless it’s Casablanca). I’m just going to imagine that all war movies end the same way that The Best Years of Our Lives began, with the soldiers returning homenow Saving Private Ryan only seems mildly traumatizing. This movie is literally as American as a piece of apple pie, but apple pie is freakin delicious, so it’s totally fine with me. 

So basically The Best Years of Our Lives is about three soldiers returning home after the war. Al (played by Frederic March) is returning to a nice home with his wife and children. Fred (played by Dana Andrews) is coming back to a brand new wife and Homer (played by Harold Russell) is coming home to a loving family and girlfriend, however he lost his hands during the war.

First, it is crazy how much Dana Andrews looks like Jason Bateman

jason_bateman BestYears65well at least they look like they could be related.

And I am really sorry if this is offensive in any way, but I really can’t look at Homer

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without thinking of

buster-bluth-im-a-monster

I’m sorry but it’s impossible not to think about it

So while the other soldiers have the happy ending and the Arrested Development comparisons, Al is definitely borderline alcoholic by the end of the film. His wife even keeps tracks of the number of drinks he has at party, but it doesn’t look like she is doing anything about it. I mean if I went to war, I would most definitely need to have a drink when I got home, but I found it strange that the movie made it a point to emphasize his drinking, then not have the problem come to head at the end of the film. I don’t maybe they did in a more subtle way. 

It’s also possible that he started drinking because his son just flat out disappears. In the beginning of the movie his son is super ungrateful when his dad brings him back gifts (and didn’t give any to his daughter, which is super rude because she clearly loves him more) and then he goes to school and never reappears in the movie. It’s only mildly disconcerting.

I really loved this movie, I felt incredibly inspired after watching it. And it turns out that the man who played Homer actually lost both of his hands during his time in the Army. He ended up becoming one of the only two unprofessional actors to win an Academy Award, and the only person to receive two Academy Awards for the same role. The Academy gave him an honorary award because they were not sure if he would win in the very competitive category.

I love happy endings and I love this movie.

Rating: 5 out of 5 times I wished I lived in the 1940’s

 

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