This month's feature film is The Best Years of Our Lives, a story which follows three American servicemen as they try to adjust to life after war. Hailed as a classic masterpiece, the film portrays the challenges and crises of masculinity in society, in the home, and in the mind. In spite of the many battles fought and won overseas, perhaps the toughest battle of all is a man's silent fight for respect.
Year: 1946 (Not Rated)
Robert E. Sherwood (writer), William Wyler (director)
Starring Friedrich March, Dana Andrews, and Harold Russell.
Setting: Post World War II America.
Seven Oscars including Best Director (Wyler), Best Supporting Actor (Russell), Best Actor (March), Best Screenplay (Sherwood), Best Music Score, Best Editing, and Best Picture.
Content warning: Some scenes portray drunkenness. One plot line encourages the deliberate demise of a marriage that no longer seems to be working. This film also warrants a SEVERE KLEENEX ALERT.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. The importance of biblically feminine support in a man's life. A woman can either make or break a man's spirit. In this film, we encounter both types of women.
2. The "Impostor" Syndrome: No matter how many awards and accolades are bestowed upon a man in an effort to acknowledge his greatness, he still feels like an impostor. The fear of being "discovered" as a fraud or failure can drive a man to either work harder or completely withdraw from others altogether.
3. The importance of respect in a man's ability to feel valued. This month's film not only portrays men crushed by disrespectful women, but also by society as a whole.
4. Body image. One man discovers that true love is unconditional, even when presented with a physical disability. One woman's constant dripping completely disfigures her otherwise stunning looks.
5. Perhaps the most valuable currency among men is loyalty. Loyalty to one's country, one's values, and one's family and friends can make even the toughest times we face feel like the best years of our lives.
Harold Russell is a real life WWII veteran/amputee who lost both hands while serving in the United States Army. William Wyler discovered Russell in a documentary and cast him in the role of Homer Parrish. Russell went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The film is available for rent at most video stores and it is common for many public libraries to own a copy of it. The movie can also be purchased online.