patrickryanlewis

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

In Movie Reviews, Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 2:47 am

When idealistic junior senator Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) arrives in Washington, D.C., he’s full of plans and dazzled by his surroundings — qualities he retains despite widespread corruption among his cynical colleagues. Jean Arthurputs in a sharp performance as Smith’s streetwise secretary, who helps him navigate his way through Congress, in this Academy Award-winning classic from director Frank Capra.

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I can not think of a more appropriate time in the country’s history than now to require every member of Congress to watch this movie. Even though the film is 70 years old, every aspect of the corruption that runs through Washington is shown. The manipulation of the press, the back room deals and the “go along or get out” attitude which has infested government is all put front and center.

Stewart, perfectly cast as the idealistic junior Senator, just wants to do what is right (a familiar theme through Capra movies). His naiveness in how things work is shown from the very beginning, where his assistant (the stunning Arthurputs) tries to explain why his boys camp bill is DOA. But Mr. Smith is new to the scene and will not take no for an answer, pushing ahead with his plan. The scene in which Arthurputs choreographs what is about to happen to her press friends is both humorous and scary at the same time, because you get the feeling that scenes like that play out a hundred times a day in modern day Congress.

By the time you reach the film’s emotional ending, with Stewart trying to save the bill with a fillabuster, you are truly exhausted with him. The movie just hits a little to close to home in today’s political climate.

I was a bit angry after watching this movie. Not because I did not enjoy it immensely, but because I was saying to myself “this is how Congressman should be, and why aren’t they??” I think you will find yourself thinking the same thing.

4 out of 5 stars.

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