A Matter of Life and Death ★★★★

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“What is love? The feeling of the moment.”

“Are you pretty?” Nice micro-aggression there, David Niven. Good thing it worked out for you.

I went into this hoping for something at least as charming as its quasi-remake, Albert Brooks’s Defending Your Life (one of my favorite accidental cable TV discoveries from back in the day). Not only did it fulfill those hopes, but i found it to be unexpectedly formally playful and inventive (giving it a big leg up over Lubitsch's Heaven Can Wait in my opinion). Definitely a solid Golden Age of Moviemaking fantasy about life and love to contend with my top fave, It’s a Wonderful Life. (And yeah, Capra sure caught a couple showings of this somewhere in between 1944 and 1945, didn’t he. “Don’t forget your book?” OMFG.)

I was kind of amused that the jingoistic American prosecutor looks so much like Nigel Farage. And holy smoke, but does Kim Hunter do a bad job playing at being frozen in time near the end, not that it’s really her fault. (I love trying to catch supposedly dead people blinking or breathing on camera. I have no idea how noticeable all the movement is in the surgery scene if you aren’t looking out for it. It’s not just her, the doctors are moving around too, but she has a much more excruciating pose to try to hold for the scene.)