Most of the time I love "It's a Wonderful Life." I do. It's an uplifting tale of the human spirit, n'est-ce pas? Humankind can always do with a little uplift. Well, unless you're Falcon Heene. However, in my darker, more skeptical moments, I question the way it goes about delivering its core message.
Frankly, I want the residents of Beaver Falls to say to George Bailey, "You know what, buddy? We all ask so much of you. You've sacrificed so much for us -- your hearing in one ear, the opportunity to see the world, follow your bliss, do big things. You deserve a little break. We'll watch the kids and manage the Building & Loan while you and your wife skedaddle to Europe to do a little site-seeing, eat a good meal or two. Oh, and we absolutely won't lose $8,000 when we are distracted for 42 seconds. Have a good time."
But NO. Instead, they're all, "Hey, George, I need you to rescue me. AGAIN. 'Cause man, I would just poke my own eyes out by accident if you weren't on the scene. Oh, by the way? There's a line out the door of other people who need your help too. It'll cost you some personal comfort, time, money, and sanity. The consolation, though, is that you're engendering all sorts of good will that won't actually manifest in anyone helping YOU until you try to commit suicide. So, are we cool with that plan?"
Sheesh. What kind of town does he live in, anyway?
Tangent: something I I find troubling about the movie in my dark AND light moments: in the alternate universe, poor, poor Mary is left to a gruesome fate without her soul mate: she is a spinster librarian. WHO WEARS GLASSES. The HORROR!