Reviewed Apr 18, 2012
Kayla Carlisle’s review:
Joe and Ratso begin the film as excessive caricatures (a Cowboy/Prostitute and a crippled Con-man) rather than relatable characters, but they are humanized as the plot progresses, and are more sympathetic for being larger than life. They seem almost archetypal--like epic heroes from some legend. And I suppose in some ways they can be see as the tragic heroes of their age.
Although not a literal 1970s film, Midnight Cowboy is often considered the first film to be told in the 1970s style--setting a precedent for most other films made that decade. In this movie we see both the underground arts culture and homosexual culture growing in America that would gain prominence in the 70s. In fact, Midnight Cowboy was the first US film to openly deal with gay society in the states. The director, John Schlesinger, was gay, and hoped to open audience's minds towards intimate male relationships through the creation of the buddy film genre. While Schlesinger did not intend for protagonists Joe and Ratso to be interpreted as in a romantic relationship (although Voigt and Hoffman interpreted their roles this way), the close friendship seen between these men was unlike any other male relationship previously seen on film. Ironically, Midnight Cowboy's competition for the Oscar in 1969 was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid--the other original buddy film. Together these two movie created this now popular genre. (Not to mention one of my favorite genres.)