“It’s a Wonderful Life”: Worth A Watch for Our Generation

Cole Megna '21, Contributing Writer

The Christmas season is here and everyone is at the peak of cabin fever. I know that if you are anything like me, you have been seeing a lot more of your family this year, and going on month nine of pandemic lockdown is starting to put a strain on your family. In order to help remedy these blues, my family and I decided to watch for the first time the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart. We figured it should put us in a festive mood, at least more so than “Die Hard.” I’m not sure what I was expecting from it, but it definitely surpassed any expectation I had for it.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” tells the story of George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), an adventurous man who for too long had to sacrifice his wants and desires to help the needs of others. After many years of pushing himself to the side, and an accident that threatens to ruin all which he has worked towards, he becomes depressed. It sounds dower, but it focuses on the good that George has done for his community and family. What you end up with is a nice, warm-hearted film where I just found myself smiling about humanity’s potential to help each other. I never thought that I would find such joy in a young banker using his power to help keep people in their homes during the Great Depression or helping poor families to become first-time homeowners.

The film is a powerful reminder of the ideals that America is supposed to represent: community and helping others out of the kindness of your own heart. It is a message that was important for the time and especially important now.

Released in the year after World War II, the message of self-sacrifice for the good of your community was necessary for a post-war America. It gave meaning to the sacrifices made by the young men who served and to their mothers at home. Perhaps World War II and the pandemic are not exactly of the same magnitude, but the similarities are blatant. No matter how big or small, people all across the country and the world are making sacrifices and eventually people will hit a boiling point. That is natural, and that is okay. However, sometimes it is important to look back on what you have sacrificed and what the world has gained because of it.