Monday, 17 April 2017

''The Grapes of Wrath'' (1940 film)- Review

Directed by: John Ford 
Released: 1940
Country: United States

Genre: Drama

Rating: 5 out of 5


''The Grapes of Wrath'' is a thought-provoking and touching film with a lot of emotional depth. It deals with social injustice, rights of people and most importantly, how working class people have struggled over the centuries, overcoming one obstacle after another.

The film's protagonist, Tom Joad, played by Henry Fonda, was in prison for having accidentally killed a man in self-defense. He is released on parole and is traveling to his Oklahoma family farm. However, upon reaching the farm, he comes to know his family- along with other families of the area- was driven away from the farm by deed holders of the lands. Shocked but determined, Tom manages to locate his family. His family is planning on going to California and start all over again, having heard that there is work available in California. On their way to California- and after reaching California- they face obstacles, difficulties and tragedies- including the death of some family members, but still, they cling on to the hope that they will be able to start all over again and find happiness again.

It was overwhelming how the characters retained optimism even after being driven away from the land they lived in for centuries. The characters in this film have hope for the future, they won't let a single blow extinguish all the optimism from their lives. Their lives might have been shattered and torn apart, but they want to do their best to bring the pieces together and rebuild their life all over again. They get their strength, their optimism from their love for each other, from their strong wish to stick together no matter what happens.

There is a scene in which the family is preparing some lunch with whatever they could manage, and although there is hardly enough food for them, they are moved by the sight of hungry children around them and share their food with these children. This scene moved me, it really did. I mean, here are the Joads, having faced cruelty from people, having been driven away from their home with no certainty about the future, but in spite of all these they have retained their humanity and good heart. Overwhelming. 

''The Grapes of Wrath'' is excellently-directed, excellently-written and has great performances, particularly from Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell (who plays the family matriarch). I was deeply moved by the film. The central characters face so much difficulties throughout the film but in spite of all these they try to retain their hope for the future.  The development of Tom's character is very impressive as well. Over the course of the film he comes to comprehend the injustices faced by the common working class people and gradually, he decides to play a role to bring the injustices to an end.  

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