0112: Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)

Make Way For Tomorrow.jpg

Rating: 8.5/10

A movie about being old in pre-war, pre-social-security America. A man, Bark, has his house taken away from him because he can no longer pay the bank for it. His wife, Lucy, and he tell their children that they must leave their house behind and the children decide that one family can take the father and the other can take the mother and thus they are seperated. Their children don’t seem to want them either as both families try to get rid of their parents by passing them off on one another.

This movie is incredibly sentimental. It really makes you feel for the characters. All Bark and Lucy want is to be together and the world around them seems to only be keeping them apart. Really plays at your heartstrings like a cheap fiddle. Also, here’s a movie that can make me feel loss, grief, or sadness without meaninglessly killing off one of it’s main characters. Take that Cinema Paradiso.

Also, there is great acting throughout this entire movie. Every actor brings out their character in ways that only add to the drama and give what is an otherwise simple storyline real depth.

I only have a few complaints. There’s a scene where Lucy gives advice to her granddaughter to stop dating around with older men and settle down and get married to someone her own age. I know it’s because this movie was made in the thirties and it’s not a very long scene but it was just long enough to make me feel uncomfortable with the message of “a woman’s place is at the home making babies” underneath its surface.

It’s just a bit boring at the beginning of the second act. I thought for a second it was about to enter the 2nd-act Doldrums immediately and I really got worried but it breaks out of this pretty quickly. Just a boring scene or two that’s beating me in the face with Lucy and Bark aren’t happy but it doesn’t last long.

With an almost total lack of a soundtrack throughout, it doesn’t really work for the first half of the film. It has more music in the third act which adds to the emotional tone of the film, but until this point it’s a little off putting when a scene happens that needs something like music, or even some background noise, and has nothing, not even crickets chirping, instead.

Why you should watch it before you die: This film has a quality of making me feel nostalgic for a time period I’m a great deal removed from. It does a really good job of making me feel for its characters. I like the ending too, I’m glad the studios weren’t successful in forcing the happy ending that was all the rage at that time.

SCORING:

+9: a really good drama that pulls at your heartstrings

+1: Great acting

-1: Uncomfortable grandma talk

-1: A bit boring at the beginning of the second act

-0.5: Lack of soundtrack in points doesn’t quite work for the film

+1: Bonus nostalgia point

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