The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)

Boy, I wasn’t expecting this. Unusually edgy material for the time, and Wilder handles it masterfully. A perfect blend of his trademark humor and wit and a dead-serious tackling of issues like suicide, infidelity, and the hypocrisies of getting ahead in the business world. I think the key to the success of the performances is outside appearances vs. inner selves. Jack Lemmon’s masterful with the slapstick, jolliness, and motivation to get ahead despite basically the little operation he’s running, and you can just feel the slime oozing off of Fred MacMurray, despite coming off as a professional businessman, but I think the real glue that holds everything together is Shirley MacLaine. What a poignant performance she gives. Happy-go-lucky, introspective, depressed, near-death, it might be one of the deepest performances i’ve seen in some time. Just that little moment when Baxter asks her about the broken mirror and she says that’s how she sees herself is just so moving and so intelligent that it speaks worlds both of her performance and the script, where a story and set-up like this is begging to be given the treatment of a cute little formulaic romantic comedy with the tied-up-with-a-bow resolution but becomes something much deeper and humanistic.

9.5/10

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1 comment so far

  1. Kid In The Front Row on

    This is a wonderful little review, of a perfect movie. I’m so glad you liked it!


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