BP’s Top 100 Movie List Challenge #83: The Best Years of Our Lives, by Sarah Brinks
I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen – the Battleship Pretension Top 100 provided just that challenge.
In doing a little research about this film, I was surprised that it had won seven Academy Awards but I had never really heard of it. The Best Years of Our Lives tells the stories of three World War II veterans returning to their home town and their adjustments back to civilian life. This film feels like it is always relevant as long as there are service men and women returning home from active duty.
After reading the initial plot description, I expected drama but I didn’t expect the film to be as funny as it is or as romantic. There are moments that are laugh-out-loud funny and almost slap-stick, particularly the night the men return home and get drunk. I also like the serious moment in the film too. The men have to deal with their disabilities, PTSD, and difficulty returning to civilian jobs (all still very relevant topics to veterans today).
The performances in the film are fantastic and worthy of their Academy Awards. Harold Russel, a real double amputee, was heart-breaking as Homer. Russel is not the best actor I have ever seen but he hit the important emotional beats of a veteran returning home and having to deal with a serious disability. The rest of the performances in the film were moving and powerful. I was really touched by this film and surprised by how progressive some of its story telling was and how timeless it is. This was another great discovery from this film challenge.
I’ve decided to rate each film using an arbitrary scale based on the board game Battleship (lowest: Destroyer, Submarine, Cruiser, Battleship, highest: Carrier)
The Best Years of Our Lives ranking: Carrier