A Face in the Crowd Reviews
This is a movie that I had not heard of before when I decided to watch it. I saw it was directed by Elia Kazan, the man behind "On the Waterfront", one of my all-time favorite films, as well as "Gentleman's Agreement". So I could at least hope that the movie would be well-directed, well-acted, and kind of interesting.
What might be your first reaction to a movie about rise to fame? Will it end happily or tragically? Is it just a typical story of the pitfalls or perks of being a celebrity? Does this look familiar from another movie, or even in real life? I'd be surprised if this kind of story does not sound even slightly familiar, because it turns out to occur in the real world to so many people. There are some who use their popularity to entertain people in many different ways, and there are those who try to help people change their lives for the better. Sadly, there are people who can get so wrapped up in their fame that they get involved in dangerous things, such as drugs, or grow haughty, manipulative, and selfish, that they end up negatively affecting their lives and those of their close ones. This movie seems to be all the more relevant in today's society.
If a movie is going to have a very familiar story, though, it needs something added to it to separate it from other films of its kind. In "A Face in the Crowd", my favorite parts were Griffith's acting and the story. Most of the cast members do well in their parts. I think Walter Matthau could have used more screen time as Mel, but at least he has arguably the best phrase in the movie: "Demagogue in Jeans". Patricia Neal does a very good job playing Marcia. She portrays different emotions well enough to make people feel sympathy for her, especially with her relation with Lonesome. And speaking of Lonesome, Andy Griffith was downright incredible as the singer/motivator! I could totally believe that his character can exist because of his wide range of emotions and expressions from being likable and talented to selfishly manipulative. It's quite interesting that a film from the 1950's features a celebrity with his own talent show as the sole judge, one of different factors contributing to his ego. It reminds me of someone running for president this year... (Please note, I'm not taking sides here; I'm just bringing this up because I immediately related him to this candidate when I saw the film in January).
The story is thoroughly engaging. Save for a few slow scenes, I was quite invested in Lonesome's journey and the effects of his life choices and ego as a celebrity. I won't talk too much about what it all leads to (because, spoilers), but suffice it to say that as the movie approached its end, it grew more intense, and the aftereffects are powerful.
"A Face in the Crowd" is a very well-acted drama featuring a timeless story that does not seem to fade away in our society any time soon. I look forward to watch this movie again, and really hope that eventually more people will see this.