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Great story, witty, and with adult themes all without the modern obsession for crudity or nudity. Brilliant. That's how it crumbles.
I was intrigued by the premise and it was a mostly enjoyable romantic story until a drag 3/4 in and a cheesy ending.
This may be one of the most depressing comedies I have ever seen which only made it's sweet, romantic ending all the more satisfying. I have come to love Billy Wilder as I watch every Best Picture winner ever as both this and the superb The Lost Weekend (1945) are some of the best films to be selected by the Academy, who usually have questionable judgment, as the best film to be released in a year. This film also boasts the nonpareils Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon giving some of their most famous performances and Fred MacMurray, better known as the father on My Three Sons, as a surprisingly despicable villain. I lapped up every moment of this film as I was drawn into conflicts and tensions that I would never have found engaging if a lesser creative force was bringing them to the screen.
The unassuming C.C. Baxter, Jack Lemmon, tends to his superiors every need as he allows them to use his apartment to have affairs in exchange for his receiving a promotion at work. He falls for the lovely Frank Kubelik, Shirley MacLaine, but she, emotionally vulnerable, agrees to go back to her married ex-boyfriend Mr. Sheldrake, Fred MacMurray, who uses Baxter's apartment for his affair with her. When Kubelik makes a suicide attempt while in Baxter's apartment he falls completely in love with her and realizes he must defy his bosses if he is to escape the loneliness that has haunted his life for many years.
When watching the film you find it shocking that such disgusting material could be discussed in such a frank and blasé fashion. The idea that all of this, men regularly having affairs with female employees, is just the way it is seems shocking but you quickly realize that the film shares the audiences' disgust for the actions of these men. Early on we get a scene of Kubelik rebuffing the sexual advances of a man as he openly slaps her on the bottom at work as she is a symbol of female strength but later we realize how vulnerable she is to the advances of predatory men. It is clear that Sheldrake is a father figure of sorts and Kubelik later relates to Baxter that she always picks the wrong men, one of her ex-boyfriends will be in prison for the next five years, but MacLaine does have a strength behind her despite all of the stupid decisions her character makes and that allows us to root for her.
The main character is also really a despicable man if we looked at the story through a different lens, say that of his neighbors, but Lemmon is so endearing as the man who infuriatingly refuses to take action. My fears for him as he gives in constantly to insistent bosses who are clearly using him, even he appears to be aware, were huge as I didn't want this kind, well meaning man to miss out on a genuinely great girl due to lack of confidence. Sad, lonely men aren't uncommon in cinema but rarely are they as well drawn as they are here as we learn interesting little facts about him like the fact that he strains noodles through a tennis racket and come to see why a fantastic woman like Kubelik could come to truly love him.
The look and feel of the film was also just wonderful as the full power of black and white cinematography is on display here. Everything seems to have texture and depth even as static shots are taken and even shots of New York skyscrapers seem unique through Wilder's lens. Wilder's direction is brilliant as he balances the funny and the extremely sad and proves he is a master of cynicism as even despite the happy ending we know that the apartment users will find another Baxter to terrorize.
This may be one of the greatest films I have ever seen therefore I believe it's Best Picture win is completely justified and when looking at the competition it's easy to see why this was the winner. I think that MacLaine deserved Best Actress, she lost to the deplorable Elizabeth Taylor, and it's a travesty that the modern, mainstream filmgoer isn't watching this film instead of Captain Marvel (2019).
Few comedy films can be as tender and heart-warming as they are dark and cynical; fewer manage to shockingly wholly reveal their darkness and melodramatic core while still offering belly laughs. The Apartment wouldn't have the right to be dubbed a Comedy, if it weren't for Wilder's shrewdly light touch.
While I.A.L. Diamond's screenplay (co-written with director Billy Wilder) couldn't have dealt with its extremely heavy underlying themes (infidelity, melancholy, exploitation, oppression, loss of self-respect and indignity, etc.) in a both more subtle and brilliantly sophisticated way, it's Billy Wilder's astute and meticulous direction that made this film a very unique dark comedy that feels as if it was released today.
Any actor could have easily fallen victim to the dark and sad core of the story that deftly prevailed at some point, exactly as C.C. Baxter have been crestfallen when he realized that he lives in an oppressive world where everybody pursues his/her own self-interest. But Jack Lemmon, only through his eyes, injected pathos into the role when the movie took its very dark turn.
I have been always impressed by how Williams captures the heartbreak and emotional devastation in the climactic scenes of her movies. I bet that Michelle Williams has learned that from Shirley MacLaine! For MacLaine here delivered an astonishingly remarkable and complex performance as the likable Fran Kubelik, who has a lot underneath her cheerful demeanor. I won't give any details about her character, but it goes without saying that she is one of the most complex cinematic characters that can give you an impactful insight into depression. it's no surprise that Kubelik has influenced many iconic female movie characters.
A timeless comedy classic like no other, The Apartment is one of the absolute finest Best Picture winners that's pretty much perfect in every respect ï¿ 1/2" directing-wise, script-wise, acting-wise. I just hoped if it ends on a bit sadder note.
With some of the sharpest dialogue you'll hear in a motion picture, Wilder beautifully manages two sad clowns through a darkly humorous situation.
I know Wilder is a world-renowned filmmaker, but is it possible heâ(TM)s still kinda underrated? This is a stone-cold cinematic masterpiece. MacLaine and Lemmon are beyond perfect; their charisma, their unique chemistry, their individual melancholy. It all centers the hilariously cynical story with beautiful humanity, a story thatâ(TM)s especially fascinating in the #metoo era; not just because of the women, but because of the way the upper level men treat the lower level men. Heartbreaking/warming and brilliant.
This movie was a gem to watch. It had y attention all the way through to the end. Great actors in this film along with a great producer - Billy Wilder
Great movie, great actors. Must see! Seriously people give this movie a chance.
I think it’s a tad bit overhyped myself, but still a film worth seeing. The film’s first 45 minutes were great, but once things slow down it becomes lethargic
yet not much fun to me...