(Review originally written at 30 September 2008)

You know, some movies are just made as pure drama's. They are purely made to bring emotions to the screen and their heavy handed. You just know that from start till finish there will be nothing to enjoy about the movie and it is going to be as serious as it can get. "The Grapes of Wrath" is such a drama, so if you don't like heavy, serious drama's, this just ain't the movie for you to watch.

Because the movie is so incredibly heavy handed and self righteous, this perhaps isn't the masterpiece everybody telling you it is but there is no denying that the movie is really well made and also features some great acting performances. But because it's such an extreme drama it often feels forced as well and causes the movie to be a long watch, even though it really isn't a that long movie. It's just a movie with a real slow pace and yes I would definitely call it boring in parts, even though lots of (dramatic) things are happening within this movie. It really isn't the most exciting movie to watch and therefore also not really a very effective one. Even though I could appreciate the movie for what it was, it just didn't ever grabbed me with its emotions, story or characters, no matter how very well it all got done.

But no, I obviously didn't hated this movie, on the contrary really. Seriously, how can you hate such a well crafted movie like this? Even though this movie got released in the early '40's it still has a real typical '30's look and feeling over it. The '30's really used to be the era of some of the best and most effective drama movies.

It's a movie that obviously got well directed, by John Ford, who loved to make real 'American' movies. His movies always have something proud and patriotic about it but without the flag waving and such. To the main crowd he is perhaps best known for the work he did within the western genre, with movies such as "Stagecoach" and "Rio Grande" under his belt.

It's also a beautiful looking movie with its cinematography and sets and costumes, which really suits the time period the movie got set in.

It has a really great story and amazingly enough things like this really happened back then in America. I didn't knew anything about this piece of history, so I definitely learned something new from it. It's a pretty amazing story and you would have a hard time believing it if you didn't know that things like this really happened in the past. The first halve of the movie is basically a road trip with lots of drama to it obviously, while the rest of the movie also tends to be very dramatic, when the family constantly tries to settle down where ever there is work (and more trouble).

Henry Fonda really plays a great role and he himself also considered it to be the role out of his career. He also received an Oscar nomination for his role. The movie also has an amazing supporting cast, with for instance fine acting performances from Jane Darwell and John Carradine. Darwell even won an Oscar for her part in this movie. It was one of the 2 Oscar's this movie received. The other was for director John Ford. Both deserved their win I would say. The movie got nominated in 5 more categories, including Henry Fonda's nomination.

Perhaps not the masterpiece I was expecting, it was too overdone and heavy handed for that but nevertheless one great movie, that I surely appreciated watching.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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