Monday, December 19, 2011

It’s a Wonderful Life: Was Mary Bailey the Ultimate Supermom?

It just isn’t Christmas unless I watch the black-and-white classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. Starting from the impressionable age of seven, this film has never lost its effect on me. With each passing year, this simple but compelling tale doesn’t fail to pull harder on my heartstrings, redefine my age, or my current post in life.

The plot may revolve around the plight of one man named, George Bailey that comes to terms with his existence and the lives that he’s touched, but for me, it’s his female partner in life that is the real hero.

Early on in the film, Mary (who is to become George’s wife and partner in life) witnesses George (then a twelve-year-old boy) getting the shit slapped out of him by his drunk boss who got the sad news that his own son had died. Not only does Mary confess her very true, and undying love to him in his “bad” ear, she takes this bittersweet scene to her grave.

I don’t know if I would have had it in me to toss away my entire nest egg and honeymoon loot on an inherited business that my husband hated, but Mary was the first one to offer in order to avoid a “run on the bank.” Once again, saving George’s hide.

Before George lassos that stork, Mary is at his side helping him build his business. In one heartwarming scene, Mary is wrangling the Martini family children, but still finds time to buy symbolic homecoming items and even deliver a speech to the delight of a small crowd. Way to go!

While George is battling the film’s villain, Henry F. Potter (played by Drew Barrymore’s great granddad), Mary is busting her ass restoring their house, volunteering for the USO, OH and popping out four kids. One of which is trying to spell Frankincense in one scene and the other one trying her hand at playing the piano. Although, I have to side with George on this line, “Janie, haven’t you learned that silly tune yet?”

In spite of George’s weaknesses which come into play thanks to his drunken Irish Uncle Billy, Mary sees something in George that is darker but very out of character for him. So, she essentially creates an impromptu prayer circle, which gets God on the case.

In the end, it was the strength of an amazing woman that helped a man find his way. But that's life I guess, and if you're lucky enough, a wonderful one.

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