Splendor in the Grass (1961)
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Natalie Wood is incredible, and this movie shows her at her best.
My friend Karelle was absolutely right about Elia Kazan's Splendor in the Grass. It's most definitely an ancestor of Les parapluies de Cherbourg, at least in its structure and final moment. Using its Wordsworth quote to good effect to contrast youth and experience, and daring (as much as it can) to discuss virginity and sex and the teenage anxieties inherent to them, the film is also truthful about parents and kids, and how the former screws up the latter as a matter of course. But it doesn't want us to feel bitter about that, it's just part of life and of everyone's identity. Pat Hingle gives a strong performance as the businessman and patriarch who destroys his own family because he ultimately sees it as an investment. Warren Beatty as his son is a bit of a non-entity for me, while Natalie Wood is unsurprisingly riveting as the lead of the picture. I like how Kazan puts us in her headspace, letting us hear whispers that represent her humiliation that fuel her anxiety and depression and lead to her break. It's a bit old-fashioned in the way it treats some of this material, but by setting in the late 1920s, it's all justified.
There's no pizza in Kansas? How tragic.
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In 7 official lists
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This movie ranks #47 in AFI's 100 years...100 passions
This movie ranks #79 in TimeOut's 100 Best Romantic Movies
This movie ranks #362 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #530 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #603 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films
This movie ranks #603 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
This movie ranks #813 in NY Times' The Essential 1,000 Films to See