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The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
The Tomatometer is 75% or higher, with 40 reviews (movies) or 20 reviews (TV). At least 5 reviews from Top Critics.
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The end result of Pascal Laugier's first feature is not a touch on what he would later achieve, but it is not a complete failure. Indeed, despite narrative and performance issues, this early effort still illustrates, in individual moments, a bold imagination and ability to genuinely unnerve us. We even here get an early indication that he likes to appear to be making one film, but actually be making another; fans of the later 'Martyrs' and 'The Tall Man' will see the early devious hallmarks. Owing something to 'The Shining' and 'The Devil's Backbone', whilst clearly paling by comparison to both, 'House of Voices' is worth a look, as long as one remembers Laugier would later become more slick and coherent in his style.
The enduring classic forces cynicism aside, going straight from the makers' hearts to yours. Impressively, it is well judged in its religious tone, respectful of faith without being exclusive to the faithful. Indeed, the ending was rewritten after being considered by the director "too heavily religious". Consequently, the film focuses on the importance of secular values in such a way that it works for you regardless of your faith, or lack thereof.
With its influence appearing interminable and boasting James Stewart's stunning range and likability as George Bailey, it is beautiful, tireless, and remains one of the best Christmas films ever made.
Whilst certain elements have not dated as well as others, the film has its place in cinema history as a catapult for the raw talent of James Dean, the 1950's Heath Ledger, as well as being a pretty good effort to put Steinbeck's novel on the screen. It wrestles well with the ideas, although one feels if it were remade now, the good/bad theme would need to be more complex, tougher perhaps. It is no 'Of Mice and Men', but the time, place, as well as Steinbeck's division of people in an America on the doorstep of war, are well captured. An engaging movie adaption everyone should see once, especially film and literature fanatics.