79. The Apartment - The Part-Time Critic

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

79. The Apartment

The Apartment (1960)
Directed by Billy Wilder

I have to confess, I love most everything that writer/director Billy Wilder does. There isn’t a single film of his I’ve seen that I didn’t like, and this is my favorite of them all. For those who have never seen this film, I give a hearty recommendation to it. If you liked Jerry Maguire, then this is a film that I think you’ll find yourself loving as well.

It is one of those films that falls into the odd place between romance, comedy and drama. Most films can barely get one of those genres right, but this one is able to get all three right. Like Jerry Maguire, The Apartment tiptoes from great comedic set pieces to great moments of dramatic insight. It might not be as poppy or in your face as Jerry Maguire, but it got that film beat when it comes to heart. There is a moment late in the film where the movie implies that Shirley MacLaine does something insane (for those who’ve seen it, it’s the champagne moment), and it absolutely stopped me heart short. Thankfully, it leads into a wonderfully redemptive scene that steals the film.

It might be in black and white but this film still plays well to a modern audience thanks in large part to the witty writing and great performances. I promise you that you will laugh alongside with Jack Lemmon (“You should see my backhand”) and fall in love with Shirley MacLaine (“Shut up and deal”). Maybe your not sure about the closet space or the old furniture, but trust me, take a chance on The Apartment.

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