Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ryan Watches a Motion Picture #7: The Apartment (1960)

Billy Wilder's oscar-winning comedy about a man who lends his bachelor pad out to lovers at the expense of his own lovelife. Jack Lemmon is C. C. Baxter, the overly helpful nice-guy and American everyman trying to earn his share of the big dream. He works in a big building at a desk in a huge room of other desks and other people working, hardly paying attention to each other. Day in, day out. But then he falls in love with Shirley MacLaine, which I would have done too.

Jack Lemmon is fantastic and neurotic and absolutely lovable as misunderstanding and misfortune pile upon him like mountains on Xenu. Lemmon's posturing translates a profound frazzledness that winds my muscles up something fierce and makes me uneasy, and I can only relax as he starts to gain his confidence and deal with his problems. There's a wonderfully dark undercurrent in this film that I really hadn't expected, and it works to raise some staple arthouse points about the effects of modernity on the individual human being.

So: One of the best romance films I've ever seen. Watch it, sucka.

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