Well, I must say I was taken aback by this movie. I had to watch it for school to get the southern perspective on the War of Northern Aggression (oops - I meant Civil War....)
There are classics in movies. Then there are classics. This is supposed to be a phenomenal movie, with ten Oscar awards and is raved about by the secular world.
I was inclined to lean towards disliking it, Mom telling me it was awful, and after all, how good can a Hollywood Romance movie be?
I was wrong.
GWTW wasn't awful.
It was Repulsive, and that is no exaggeration.
The story follows a rich, spoiled rotten, flirtatious, arrogant, Georgia heiress who is madly in love with the son of a neighboring plantation, who marries another girl.
She is in love with him through the entirety of the movie, and it is this romance that ruins her life around her ears. Refusing to give up the hope of having him, she walks through two marriages with both husbands dying, feeling little to no remorse. The war comes and goes, wrecking her fortune, but then regains it through merciless business dealings.
Popping in and out through all of this, is the Rhett Butler.
Morally reprehensible, arrogant, witty, rich, scheming, motivated solely by money, with a bad reputation, he is attracted to Scarlet, and follows and helps her through tough times in the movie.
He eventually marries her, both of them going into it partially for the money that both of them has.
The ongoing emotional affair that Scarlet has over Ashley eventually drives Rhett into a divorce, after their only child dies and the fights between Scarlet and Rhett escalate.
Well, this section will be short, for there is only one right spot in the whole movie, and it shines out far beyond the filth the rest of the movie wallows in.
God, may my wife be as Godly as Melanie Wilkes.
She is the closest this I have found to the "perfect" Godly woman on the silver screen. The Christlike behavior of Melanie is simply staggering. Scarlet treats her like rubbish, she treats Scarlet back like royalty. She thinks no evil of anyone, but only believes the best of everyone. Whenever somebody tears down Scarlet for being the jerk that she is, Melanie is there with a kind word and an optimistic defense for Scarlet's behavior. She always is glad to see Scarlet, and welcomes her with all her heart, despite the arrogance and repugnant attitude of Scarlet. When sick, she does her best to help as she can anyway. When reprimanded by Scarlet for something, she is as humble as can be, and takes the correction as if it was from a much older, wiser woman.
When Scarlet is caught with Ashley in ways that are by all appearances scandalous instead of kicking her out of her house at a party, she welcomes her in spite of the hurt caused her, and treats her with love and honor. She praises Scarlet for even the smallest act of kindness, no matter the amount of dirty motives behind the action. She can only attribute the kindest and noblest of actions to people, and loves them and encourages them when they are down and feeling poorly, spiritually or physically.
If one could ignore the entire rest of the movie, it would be worth watching merely to learn from the actions of Melanie Wilkes. Honestly, her actions convicted me of how stone-hearted I can be to those I am not fond of. Everybody, everywhere, man or woman, can learn loads from this simple, quiet, loving woman.
Granted, she doesn't do it for Christ, but just "is" good in her essential nature, or so they say of course. We know no-one can ever do that on their own accord and will, and only Christ can help us be that way, but of course, this is Hollywood, and they miss that.
And that folks, is the only good in the whole movie.
Gee, where to start.
I guess I will start with the main problem - Scarlet.
It cannot be described how self -centered she is, how arrogant, how driven by her own lusts and desires to be rich, to have what she wants, and how her reckless and lust-driven ways hurt herself and everybody else around her. Before the war she is rich and well off, living in comfort, but due to war time carnage, is reduced to rags and farming with her own to hands with what is left of her family and house servants. She then vows to do everything in her power, even if she has to lie, cheat, steal, and even kill, so she will will never be hungry or poor ever again. And she does just that. She lies to people left and right, cheats a poor honest chap out of the wife he wants, marries him for his business, just so she can be rich. Back on the upswing, she is merciless in her business deals, taking advantage of anybody and everybody to get her will and way - money and rich living.
After the second husband dies, she finally marries Rhett Butler, who has been trying to get her to marry her all his life, again, mostly for money, and even half of his motives are bent towards money. They become filthy rich and live a lavish and extravagant lifestyle. The luxury they live with and think is the norm in this movie is appalling.
And I thought I was living high-on-the-hog when I got a new bow!
|Sorry, just had to throw a picture of my new awesome bow. Loving this thing to death.|
Eventually, she is still selfishly and doggedly sure she would be happy with Ashley, and after (Spoiler!) Melanie dies, Rhett divorces her and leaves her to pursue the man she always wanted, but now finds out never loved her at all in the first place. She is heartbroken, finds she really does love Rhett - too late, and goes back to her old plantation home, the only thing that has lasted through her life.
This character is a vivid example of what happens to anyone who ever thinks that something other than Christ will ever make them truly happy. She thinks she has to be rich to be happy, but is still discontent even then, thinking Ashley will make her Happy. Ashley doesn't love her, so she thinks maybe the man she has despised and abused all these years pursuing other fulfillments, will make her happy.
Gone With the Wind is a fitting title, for this movie shows exactly how the vain and fleeting things of this life vanish like the wind, and how fruitless and useless is the pursuit of them really is. This movie portrays it in a way that no other movie ever has.
Rhett Butler is posed and slated as the "hero" in this movie, helping Scarlet out of some sticky situations but is far below deserving that honorable position.
He is a blockade runner during the war, not for "the cause" but for money, "because that is the only thing that lasts". He is driven, almost constantly, by money the whole movie.
He is morally destitute of almost all virtue, and is constantly hounding Scarlet to marry him, and forces her to kiss him several times before they actually do get married. he is well known to hang out with "loose" women at bar parties, who are less than ladies, but actually have more noble qualities in them than Scarlet (go figure). He is a jerk in and out, but does have an ounce of nobility hidden way back somewhere in that black heart. Several times when he lost his temper and acted in many un-manly and un-Christlike behavior, he comes back to her and apologizes for his unseemly behavior. He actually tried to stick the marriage out between him and Scarlet, trying to hold his end up and be a good husband and father, as he defined both of course.
Eventually however, his poor heart is broken one to many times, and bitter and despondent leaves Scarlet in a divorce, not caring what happens to her after.
Hero? *snort* I think not. This man is a disgrace as a man, as a gentleman, as a husband, as a father, as a bachelor, and in almost all aspects of his crummy character.
The awful part about the utterly repulsive characters in this movie, is that they can't be just ignored to get the good from Melanie's part. You have to wade through so much junk and filth and offensive material, that the movie is beyond worthless. The tiny aspect of good is drowned out in the overall effect of the slime of the movie.
Also, even though I know it was period-correct, the ladies costumes were way low. Like, way low.
I had to do some serious heart searching after watching this, and decided I probably shouldn't have finished the movie with the state of the clothing. Nothing ever went below what would have been appropriate then (although of course Hollywood did push the limits as far as they could) but still, they were low. You definitely have to guard your eyes through this movie.
*Bleagh* This movie leaves such a bad taste in my mouth. I hope I will never catch even another glimpse of this horrid film ever again.
Overall rating: 1 Star, solely for Melanie's part, and for her part alone.
NOT recommended to anyone, ever.