#104 Make Way For Tomorrow (1937)

Are you close with your parents or do they just plain drive you crazy? Well, after seeing this film, you’ll feel guilty enough to want to give your parents a great big hug, call them everyday, and never want to move out. Make Way For Tomorrow is when an elderly couple whose house is being foreclosed take desperate measures to ensure their survival during The Great Depression– even if it means asking their grownup kids to move in with them.

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The Great Depression was a terrible time for everyone of that era. Jobs were gone, businesses went down, and lives were destroyed. Bark and Lucy experience that hardship in this film when their house is taken away because of a bank foreclosure. They have nowhere to go except to live with their kids who have spouses, careers, and kids of their own. Despite the fact that all of these kids have big houses, they claim there is no room for their parents to stay with them. They feel like burden to them. It is interesting how the tables turn where parents will go out of their way and work hard to ensure that their kids survive in the cruel world by helping them get into college. Those kids were taken care of. But when their parents ask for the same treatment, it cannot be done. It starts off with moaning and groaning to end with plans behind their backs of nursing homes and being switched off sibling after sibling. Sad to say, this situation will hit home whether it’s now or later.

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So why did revolutionary filmmaker Orson Welles say that this film would “make a stone cry?” Well, because this movie makes us look twice at how we can take our parents for granted. That they take care of us from birth until adulthood. Then there’s a time when we need to take care of our parents and we can’t find it in our hearts to repay to them the opportunities they gave to us. If their kids don’t help this elderly couple that the audience has felt sympathy over, they will have to be separated so that Bart could find work. Do you feel like Bart and Lucy’s children were monsters or did you agree in the choices they made? I feel like the situation could go either way. We can understand the frustration of having to take care of our parents but we should try to help them anyways after all they did for us. I personally have seen relatives refuse to take care of family because they are too busy taking care of their own lives than to have to deal with the burden of taking care of someone else. It may be a personal choice on what the right thing to do is but to audiences who are looking at this from a third party perspective, we cannot help but root for their children to help their own parents.

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Having elderly parents is something that people today have and this film portrays the real-life responsibility that kids have to go through to take care of them. This is an underrated film that I feel honored to blog about. Director Leo McCarey would win the Oscar for Best Picture for The Awful Truth but he said that he won for the wrong film. He made this film in honor of his own father who passed away and the people of his parent’s generation. This film hits the heart strings of its own crew that people in props, cameramen, grips, and extra wrote long-delayed letters to their parents. Once you seeing the emotional wreck of an ending, you’ll feel compelled to do the same. Something tells me that if this film was made today, it would be a comedy about parents moving in with their kids and wreaking havoc on their lives. But this is a drama that is so true to life that everyone should see to further appreciate the sacrifices parents have made and to return the favor to your parents one day. So after you see this film, do what J.K. Simmons said at the 87th Oscars Ceremony and give your parents a call to just simply tell them you love them even if they know it already.  

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the film online but here is the trailer for this social realism film and comment on your thoughts:

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