AFI Top 100: No. 26 Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

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As you can see, we went out of turn a bit. For some reason, Netflix does not carry “To Kill A Mockingbird” so we put it on hold at the library and watched it as soon as we picked it up. Then came our puppy, our honeymoon and the holiday season, all which put a halt to our AFI watching. We are back at it though and had a rockin’ NYE watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington!

Like many Americans, I remember watching this movie in my high school civics class but since that was over 10 years ago, I did not remember much about the film. Any film with James Stewart is a winner in my book, and Mr. Smith lived up to our expectations. Stewart was brilliant as the wide-eyed, naive and patriotic junior senator. The exhaustion during the filibuster felt authentic, as did his emotions of embarrassment, anger, wonder and determination throughout.

I had mixed emotions about Jean Arthur’s character, Smith’s secretary Saunders. She felt real at the beginning as a hardened, Washington insider. Once she realized her feelings for Smith, she turned into a bit of a silly girl. Whistling and shouting out during a session? Crying out his name at the end? Please, a professional woman like her wouldn’t do that, no matter how much she loved him.

The storyline itself was very captivating and does a nice job of showing certain ways our government operates. The film was controversial at its showing and its story of corrupt elected officials who make decisions based on influential individual is still relevant today. Despite this, it shows that our government does work and did give me a sense of pride to be an American. Tim and I both enjoyed this one.

Next Up: E.T., The Extra Terrestrial.

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