The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
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An engrossing look at the triumphs and travails of war veterans, The Best Years of Our Lives is concerned specifically with the aftermath of World War II, but its messages speak to the overall American experience.
All Critics (49)
| Top Critics (12)
| Fresh (47)
| Rotten (2)
| DVD (3)
William Wyler's heartbreaking postwar ballad seems even more radical today than it did in its Oscar-thick heyday. It's as non-propagandistic as an unemployment line.
As far as this review is concerned, it is the best picture to come out of Hollywood since the end of the war.
[A] powerful, if cumbersome prestige picture.
Profoundly and sensitively balances the private demons of scarred veterans and the press of public policies that leave their mark on daily life.
Like most good mass entertainments, this picture has occasional moments of knowing hokum; but unlike most sure-fire movies, it was put together with good taste, honesty, wit -- and even a strong suggestion of guts.
One of the best pictures of our lives.
This happy result is entirely due to the fact that... The Best Years of Our Lives is one of the most excellently made films to come from Hollywood for a long time.
By all rights, the homecoming drama The Best Years of Our Lives should have been another well intentioned film left to the dated dustbins of history, but World War II vet William Wyler put more soul into this picture than anything else in his career.
In our own era of continuous armed conflicts, innocent deaths and PTSD, the public's naiveté about the "glories" of war has long since faded to black...
The Best Years of Our Lives is one of the most timely and immediate Best Picture winners in Academy history, beating even Mrs. Miniver in terms of topicality.
It's a masterpiece, a combination of a genuinely felt emotional narrative and a microcosm of a country recovering from war.
The nation's problems are right there in plain sight, just as clear as cinematographer Gregg Toland's typically precise deep-focus shots.
A deeply touching and significant post-WWII classic that depicts the psychological trauma and several obstacles encountered by veteran soldiers of different backgrounds returning from war, and it does so with an expert use of deep focus and a wonderful mise-en-scène to create many meaningful visual compositions.
Patriotism and lenght aside, an evocative and passionate melodrama with soulful performances.
It definitely gets a little too syrupy at times, but William Wyler's ode to returning veterans is a remarkably bold and frank look at post-WWII America (especially brave, considering these were topics Hollywood avoided for years before its release). Fredric March is brilliant as always, and underrated Dana Andrews and Teresa Wright are terrific as well. It features Wyler's traditionally tight direction, and the legendary Gregg Toland shines by composing some truly stunning deep focus photography as well. In the end, The Best Years of Our Lives may be a little too conventional, but it's done well enough to draw you in and root for its characters.
Before films like The Deer Hunter (among others) provided commentary on the readjustment of soldiers after the Vietnam War, this film tackled the way in which soliders dealt with coming home after World War II.
This is a long story that looks at the lives of three men from the same town who all come home together and form a bond as they each struggle individually to move on with their lives after having served overseas. It's also an extremely relevant and good story, too. I liked how the narratives interweaved, although the connection between the men and their fast friendship seems a little undercooked and more coincidental than anything, as these men have apparently never known one another before the war.
The film won a ton of Oscars though (including for Best Picture), and I have to say that they're all pretty well deserved. The performances are great, and I loved how they got an actual handicapped guy to play Homer, adding authenticity to things. The film is really touching, and well shot, but not without a few minor flaws.
The editing could be a bit tighter, cutting down some of the run time. This would also cut down on the film's occasional dragging. Also, ike I mentioned above, a slightly better developed background connection for the characters. While the film does a fairly good job of covering each man's story, it seemed like things could have been a bit more equally balanced in terms of amount of time devoted to each.
All in all, a very well done and engaging film about an important subject. I'm glad I saw this, because I really had no idea that there were any films about post war experiences of soldiers for the WWII era. Highly Recommended.
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