It’s a Wonderful Life at Film Streams

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November 30th, 2012

Omaha, NE – It’s a Wonderful Life returns to the theater this December. Film Streams is hosting the classic Christmas story, which is a darker tale than its name suggests.

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It’s a Wonderful Life was billed as a romantic comedy when it was first released in 1946. But Frank Capra’s classic story is a much darker tale that delves into far weightier themes. “The film begins with literally the cosmos…a vision of this large galaxy,” said Mark Hoeger, a professor of film appreciation at the University of Nebraska Omaha. “So it brings into it these huge themes of what is our place in the universe? Why are we here? What is the meaning of success?”

The story follows the idealistic George Bailey who has hopes of seeing the world, but instead, stays home to run his father’s bank, sacrificing his ambitions for the good of his hometown. Facing financial ruin, George becomes suicidal when he is turned down for a loan by the evil big-money banker Mr. Potter.

The story turns when the guardian angel who has followed George’s woes shows him a vision of a dark and miserable world without him, which helps George see the value of his life. “One of the secrets of Frank Capra’s formula is that even though on one hand you could argue his films end with what could be considered… a happy ending,” Hoeger said, “he takes you to such a dark place before that ending that he sort of earns the ending.”

“All of us can relate to that feeling of that we haven’t achieved what we hoped or thought we could,” Hoeger said. “The way the film ends, which is uplifting, is to say, no, your life does matter. You have made a difference in ways you may not be aware of.”

“And that in the end, all any of us can hope for is the love of family and friends,” Hoeger said, “and that probably is a great miracle that we take for granted.”

It’s a Wonderful Life will be screened at Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater beginning December 14.

Editorial Note: Movieha is on hiatus this week. The film review team will return Friday, Dec. 7.

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