Rear Window ★★★★

Somehow I missed this classic . . . until now. Lots of fun and intrigue.

In this movie, director Alfred Hitchcock skillfully taps into the voyeurism in each one of us. Can any one us us deny our urge to watch people incognito? Let's be completely honest. Is this not the essence of movie watching? Staring undeterred into the private lives of other people without shame?

True confessions: I love people watching. I enjoy watching people at airports, on buses and trains, and children at playgrounds and on school yards. I even violate standard social conventions by sometimes staring at people. Sometimes out of the corner of my eye so as to go undetected. This movie reminded me of how much I enjoy peering in people's windows as I walk by their houses in the dark on my daily walk home from work.

I was reassured as recently as this past week that I am not alone in my attraction to people watching. I was sitting in the waiting room awaiting a medical procedure, reflecting with the man sitting next to me on the length of time that we were waiting. He expressed his ready willingness to wait, as he was content to simply wait there and watch people. Ah, a man after my own heart!

A truth in this movie is that we are more likely to resist such watching, unless forced by our circumstances to wait for something . . . or someone. Like Jeff in this movie. Forced to be an observer from the cocoon of his leg cast and the restriction of his wheel chair, perhaps for the first time ever he took a genuine interest and concern in the lives of his closest neighbours.

Alfred Hitchcock certainly had a talent. Deserving of his recognition for being one of the best directors ever. I like to see him make an appearance in his own movies, however briefly. And I am grateful to him in this movie for normalizing voyeurism and so giving all of us permission to be intrigued with the lives of other people. When we imagine the opposite - a common disinterest in the lives of others - it really doesn't seem so bad. Does it?

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