The Best Year of Our Lives (1946)

A Post-War Love Story About PTSD

The Best Years of Our Lives is without a doubt in my Top 10 favorite movies of all time! I mean the cast alone just fills the bill...Myrna Loy,  Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Virginia Mayo and Teresa Wright, whom I fell in love with in Shadow of a Doubt!  

A feel-good movie about PTSD?

It seems ridiculous to say a movie about the struggles of soldiers returning from war is a feel good movie, but in many ways it is!  There is a level of drama, depression anxiety, dysfunction, triumph and joy that make The Best Years of Our Lives one of those movies that's like comfort food!  And, a love scene between Homer and Wilma that rivals George Bailey and Mary Hatch at the bottom of the stairs.  As an old soldier myself, I have a very special spot in my heart for veterans, so this movie turned out to be one of my 'comfort-food' kinda films!

Here's what Bosley Crowther had to say:

"It is seldom that there comes a motion picture which can be wholly and enthusiastically endorsed not only as superlative entertainment but as food for quiet and humanizing thought... These are some fancy recommendations to be tossing boldly forth about a film which runs close to three hours and covers a lot of humanity in that time. Films of such bulky proportions usually turn out the other way. But this one is plainly a labor not only of understanding but of love from three men who put their hearts into it--and from several others who gave it their best work. William Wyler, who directed, was surely drawing upon the wells of his richest talent and experience with men of the Air Forces during the war. And Robert E. Sherwood, who wrote the screen play from a story by MacKinlay Kantor, called "Glory for Me," was certainly giving genuine reflection to his observations as a public pulse-feeler these past six years. Likewise, Mr. Goldwyn, who produced, must have seen this film to be the fulfillment of a high responsibility. All their efforts are rewarded eminently." The New York Times - November 22, 1946

Roger Ebert liked The Best Years...

"The movie's screenplay, by Robert Sherwood, moves confidently among the problems faced by the three men; unhurried and relatively low-key, this isn't a fevered docudrama...The film makes no effort to paint these men as extraordinary. Their lives, their characters, their prospects are all more or less average, and Wyler doesn't pump in superfluous drama. That's why the movie is so effective, and maybe why it doesn't seem as dated as some 1946 dramas." - Rober Ebert, December 29, 2007

[Homer has asked Wilma into his bedroom to see what happens as he prepares for bed. After removing his hooks and harness, he 'wiggles' into his pajama top]
Homer Parrish: I'm lucky. I have my elbows. Some of the boys don't. But I can't button them up.
Wilma Cameron: I'll do that, Homer.
Homer Parrish: This is when I know I'm helpless. My hands are down there on the bed. I can't put them on again without calling to somebody for help. I can't smoke a cigarette or read a book. If that door should blow shut, I can't open it and get out of this room. I'm as dependent as a baby that doesn't know how to get anything except to cry for it. Well, now you know, Wilma. Now you have an idea of what it is. I guess you don't know what to say. It's all right. Go on home. Go away like your family said.
Wilma Cameron: [She kneels in front of him] I know what to say, Homer. I love you and I'm never going to leave you... never.
[She kisses him]

RATED: Top 10!

WATCH IT AGAIN: Definitely!

DO I WANT TO OWN IT?:  Absolutely

Thanks for stopping by - see ya at the movies!

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