Basically this movie is like a lot of other similar movies, made around the same period, that are being simplistic and very straightforward with its characters and story. The one thing that this movie still has extra going for it as well, is its originality with its story.

This movie has the guts to tell a not so everyday story for a movie, especially not for its time. It's a story that involves male prostitutes, which also involves some homosexual aspects at times. But not that the movie ever gets raunchy or goes over-the-top or too far with anything. Despite all of its dramatic aspects about its story and characters, the movie manages to find a pleasant balance between its drama and entertainment. "Midnight Cowboy" gets never too heavy or falls into false sentiments. It makes the movie more powerful and effective than it would had been if it had gone for a more complete serious and straightforward approach.

The movie so easily could had gone for shock value but instead it makes the choice to tell a more human story. And perhaps this still is the movie its greatest power; its characters. They are above all very realistic and therefore also easy to like and identify with, even while the characters are doing some not so everyday things.

It's a movie that is deliberately kept simple and little. So don't expect big twists or characters doing some extreme stuff. But this is why the movie worked and why I liked its story. Nothing ever gets overdone and the movie is also far from a pretentious one.

It's true that perhaps Dustin Hoffman never has been better, in any movie. He's actually quite unrecognizable in his role, since he is playing a character you normally would never expect him to play. Also quite unrecognizable is Jon Voight, in one of the earliest roles out of his career. Both actors also got nominated for an Oscar, both in the leading roles categories, which is something quite special. In my opinion it still is foremost Jon Voight who plays the leading role and also definitely has the most screen time. But both lost anyway but the movie still eventually won the three most important Oscar's, for its writing, directing and best picture of the year.

A great and special movie within its genre.


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About Frank Veenstra

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