Well. I’m astounded. I find it hard to collect my thoughts about this film without stumbling over so many feelings. It’s so sweet that I had to concentrate on holding back the tears. Such a beautiful-sweet-sad film about something most of us will hopefully get to do – grow old. Everyone should see it.
Make Way for Tomorrow is exactly what it sounds like: a tale of how we become more and more out of time as we age. It’s about a couple who lose their home after fifty years of marriage. None of their children can put them both up so they have to separate temporarily until they work something out. Removed from the world they’ve made for themselves, their ways aren’t tolerated or respected as they should be, especially considering each new, young generation considers itself more “enlightened” and “progressive” than the last. This crude summary doesn’t do the film justice, however: the youth of “today” is only unkind and intolerant when it chooses to be and we come across a good mix of folk. There are some pretty worthless human beings in there who couldn’t be interpreted as anything other than “bad”, but this happens in real life, too. The film is quite gentle in its messaging and treats many of its characters with understanding.
Make Way for Tomorrow is very well made. The script is perfect and the acting is strong, particularly Victor Moore and Beulah Bondi, who are absolutely wonderful as the central couple. I’ve given enough of it away – please watch it and see what you think. I consider it essential viewing.
Perhaps my thinking here is symptomatic of generational self-absorbedness, but I think this film’s relevance is even stronger today than it could ever have been. The push for social change, often more ideological than rational, is very strong in both social and traditional media. Even in a laboratory example where a new way is an undeniable improvement on what went before, rushing towards a new world order that doesn’t tolerate dissent and crushes those who think differently is ignorant, arrogant and will lead to a social disaster when such fascism and ideology-fuelled “thinking” spin out of control.