“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a truly phenomenal film exudes the colossal clash between sacrifice and self-destruction. The main character, George Bailey clearly portrays the stated two themes throughout the flow of the film. Accordingly, the actor John Stewart who plays George Bailey, narrates his previous life through a series of events. Vividly expressed and detailed by the visions and the prowess in acting as seen in the film. Despite the fact that John Stewart exudes empathy by helping the society he dwells in, he does not achieve his many dreams and ambitions. Additionally, he suffers in different ways as a result of his good intentions and actions. A review of the clash between sacrifice and self-destruction due to good intentions is analyzed.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a film about an empathic man who dedicates his life to his fellow inhabitants of Bedford Falls. James Stewart as the main character has always yearned to travel and visit various destinations, but his dive to prevent Mr. Potter from overrunning the town failed. Accordingly, Mr. Potter (Barrymore) is an aristocratic shrewd businessman who is driven by greed. However, through Stewart’s modest loaning company, he is able to prevent Potter from taking over the town (Welch 15). Despite his resistance, a series of events leads to Stewart’s suicidal tendencies. Firstly, on the eve of Christmas, the uncle of George, Billy, loses $8000 of the business money. Consequently, Mr. Potter comes across the lost money and hides it from Uncle Billy. Correspondingly, both the bank examiner and George cannot cover the shortage of money. Conversely, George believes that he will be held accountable for the lost money, go to jail and Mr. Potter will have his way in reference to the town. The thought of jail, his town and family, leads him to contemplating suicide. Nevertheless, Clearance an angel from heaven intercedes through a nightmare. Through the nightmare, George envisions the huge impact he has on people and how unbearable life in the town would have been without him. Finally, he realizes the mercurial impact he has and diverts from his suicidal thoughts.
Despite being a sentimental and moving film, various actions performed by Stewart lead him further to the destruction or imminent loss in terms of fulfillment of his desires (Fairbanks 23). The first instance of George’s sacrifice is vividly portrayed by the incident in which he saved his brother who had fallen through the ice (Hawkins 23). The heroic action of George enables his brother to escape the grip of death. His brother becomes enlisted into the army and manages to save more lives and kill enemy combatants. Nevertheless, saving other’s life George damages one ear and becomes deaf. As a result, the main character is going to miss a chance to be enlisted in the army. His dream of travelling around the world and making a difference is under the threat.
Secondly, George repeatedly sacrifices his ambitions to visit different locations in the world. He willingly agrees to wait for his brother Harry to graduate from the High School. He then replaces his brother at the Bailey loaning company owned by his father. His actions illustrate extremely sympathetic character who is ready to help others rather than to be a selfish man. Apparently, the loan company is highly essential to the town. As well the loaning company inhabitants of the town are given loans and services that enable them to survive. His relentless drive will help the poor in the town. Through the character, a sense of belonging generates from the people of the town as a result of the fight for their access to loans. On the graduation night of his brother, George discusses with Donna Reed his desires to travel and altering the world. With excitement, he shares the views towards the world, his ambitions and talks about various places he would like to go. To some extent, the main character manages to sway the audience into a world of adventure and thrill. Nonetheless, his conversation with Mary is cut short by the news concerning his father’s health. His father had succumbed to stroke. Thus, George decides to give up his ambitions and continue running the family business.
Thirdly, months after the death of his father, Mr. Potter a shareholder in the loaning company tries to sway the board of directors from issuing loans to poor people. As shifty and thrifty businessman, Potter is highly dedicated to owning the town and no loans to the people means that he will be able to achieve his devious plans. As a calculative businessman, (Hawkins 17) Potter is greedy and aggressive in business through crushing and burning his business rivals through ruthless tactics. However, George through his persuasive speech make the board disapprove Potter’s recommendations. His charismatic charms and play ensures that the poor are saved from an impending doom. The board emphasizes that they will agree only if George will occupy the position as a manager of the loaning company. Thus, George has nothing left but to give up his plans, hand over money to his brother for college and believes that his brother will come back and take over the seat given to him in the business. Thus from this scene, it is quite clear that Bailey continues to give up on his life for the benefit of the people and society. As for Fairbanks (34), the self-sacrifice of George perpetually denies himself fulfillment and development. His growth in terms of knowledge, ideals and experiences are constantly being diverted by his humanity and desire to help others. For example, Clarence notes “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
Hawkins (12) further states that when his brother returned after graduation, George had an opportunity to start his self-fulfillment journey. However, through his brother’s pleas and the fact that he had secured a better and higher paying job, George decides to continue running the loaning company. It is quite evident that, George prefers the pleasing of his fellow people in the expense of himself (Hawkins 45). Additionally, he denies himself and his newly wedded wife the chance of enjoying the honey moon in order to save the loaning company. Through skill and expertise expression of emotions expressed by John Stewart, he shows the humanity he has towards the society. The exponential feelings he has towards the poor and the weak of the community supersedes his own happiness. Instead of going on a honeymoon, which could have ensured him a chance to travel the world for at least a short while, he decides to save the company. Overall It’s a Wonderful life is a tale of human sacrifice, full of love and care towards fellow neighbors. George Bailey is portrayed as a man of dedication driven towards happiness of others. He relinquishes his ambitions and desires through sacrifice which leads to an unfulfilled life. Despite the fact that he has not fulfilled his personal ambitions he maintains a character that is respectable and deserving martyrdom. He is worthy character who makes the film the favorite one.