Niels De Vita’s review published on Letterboxd:
It took over 17 years in the US and more than ten years as an aspiring cinephile to finally get acquainted with Frank Capra’s beloved film “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Until today, it was the most elusive of all blindspots, getting cozy in the depths of my must-watch list only to find itself bested, time and again, by lesser newer releases that, in hindsight, deserved less of my time.
A ubiquitous part of network television programming during the holiday season, the Frank Capra classic has been watched by millions of people over the span of generations; but, like all things with such enduring popularity, one can’t help but wonder if it’s one of those fortunate cultural objects that have gained notoriety without fully deserving it.
Well, I’m happy to report that even a snobby amateur critic like me finds “It’s a Wonderful Life” to be deserving of its classic status.
After a few unsuccessful attempts, I finally watched the Frank Capra film in its entirety, fully prepared to be disappointed — in keeping with the overall tone of 2020.
Despite my poor attitude, I was soon hooked by Capra’s beautifully realized story about human kindness and self-worth.
The beauty of the film lies not only on the performances (can it get any better than James Stewart in a holiday movie?), or the colorful array of characters (from papa Bailey to Mr. Potter), or the perfectly timed humor, or in the many little details that enrich the story, no; the enduring legacy of “It’s a Wonderful Life” lies mostly in its ability to tell a charming and wholesome tale without it ever feeling forced, or cliched. The film succeeds in illustrating that we are all individuals of value, and that we all have the capacity to make lemonade out of the lemons we are dealt.