Alice, the only relatively normal member of the eccentric Sycamore family, falls in love with Tony Kirby, but his wealthy banker father and snobbish mother strongly disapprove of the match. When the Kirbys are invited to dinner to become better acquainted with their future in-laws, things don't turn out the way Alice had hoped.
If you enjoy this review, please check out my blog, Old Hat Cinema, at https://oldhatcinema.medium.com/ for more reviews and other cool content. A heartwarming film from start to finish My favorite movie is Frank Capra's 1938 Best Picture winner, You Can't Take It with You. Okay, honestly I have a good twenty favorite movies. But this one ranks above them all. Why? Because I love the feel, the message, the theme inherent in the plot. Put very simply, it is this: life is too short to waste it in the pursuit of wealth, which ultimately brings no happiness. It makes infinitely more sense to spend it bringing joy into your own life, and the lives of those around you. Why, you might ask, do you need to spend over two hours watching a movie just to hear this idea reiterated? Because, I would answer, the journey, from the opening scenes of a day in the life of a wealthy Wall Street banker to the final scene of saying grace before supper, is just so much fun - good, clean, heartwarming fun, at that. Also, there is the not inconsiderable merit of Mr. Lionel Barrymore playing the harmonica and railing against the "isms" of the world. Under Capra's expert direction, a mix of acting talents so perfect the cast must have been blessed from above, comes together to create one of the most down-to-earth, enjoyable, and hilarious screwball comedies of all time. Oh, but be warned: the firecrackers do tend to go off with a real bang from time to time. It's the story of Alice Sycamore, a relatively normal young woman - normal considering she comes from an offbeat clan of free spirits, including her grandfather Martin Vanderhof, her aspiring playwright mother Penny, and one old gentleman who came to deliver the ice one day and never left. She's a secretary for the son of banking magnate Anthony P. Kirby, and she falls in love with the boss's son - or rather, with the back of his head, as she tells him herself. But the horribly sane, dull world of Anthony Kirby, Jr. isn't so well-suited to the topsy-turvy, go-with-the-flow lifestyle adopted by Alice's family. The rest of the film deals with the juxtaposition of the two very different ideals and lifestyles, and whether or not Alice and Tony can find happiness together. Some ridicule this film as an over-the-top fantasy slamming work ethic and responsibility, and making the rich look like poor fools. While it's true that life can't always be as simple and beautiful as it is for the fictional Vanderhof family, it's a gentle reminder of what's really important in life, and how we need to take the time to live in the moment, sometimes even with joyous abandon, and never forget to have some fun. Consider the Vanderhof family this way: each person seen as a unique individual; free to do whatever it is they want to do most; never overlooked; never judged; but always loved. I like to think that almost every person secretly, somewhere deep down inside, would want to live that way. I know I would.