I'm sure I don't bring anything new to the party by focusing on this particular romantic movie, but I can't help myself. The themes are huge and iconic: love war, infidelity, The Old South, family and love of the land. All those and more are packed into just under four hours. It's like The Jerry Springer Show with hoop skirts and a side of crack cocaine to keep the energy level up.
One of the things I love most about old movies like this is that the surroundings start out so beautiful, then move into ruin and decay and are restored to beauty again. Somewhere during that journey in Gone with the Wind, however, you start to realize that beauty is relative. Scarlett, played by the lovely English actress Vivien Leigh, is universally acknowledged as the belle of the county and beyond. But how beautiful is she really? As the movie progresses, she lies, cheats, steals, manipulates and mis-marries. The question is, does Scarlett's long slide into selfishness and depravity make her any less beautiful? I say yes.
For me, her beauty is only restored at the end when she realizes that the man who loved her all along is the man that she loves too. Maybe her luster is restored in my eyes because I also know what it feels like to make the wrong choice where love is concerned. Maybe that's why we all watch romantic movies -- we're all just trying to figure out that thing called love.
Here's the trailer: