movie review: rear window (contains spoilers!)

Yeah, so I’m 52 years late to the party. Rear Window is one of those movies that’s so ubiquitous, so referred to in the popular culture, that you feel like you must have seen it at some point, even though you haven’t. So then it gets recommended to you on Netflix and you’re all, “I’ve seen that movie already!” and then you’re all, “Psych! I have NOT seen this movie!” This happens to me with a lot of the “classics”. I didn’t see Citizen Kane until, like, last year. Anyway, the aforementioned Popular Culture and its ever-satirical ways had lead me to believe that Rear Window had a surprise ending. The infamous Simpsons episode, among other parodies, all feature the basic plot of this movie, except in the end the Jimmy Stuart character isn’t actually witnessing a murder, but instead something hilariously benign. Naturlich, I thought that’s how the actual film would end.

But in a shocking twist, there is no twist! Raymond Burr actually does kill his wife! So it ended up being somewhat unsatisfying in that I wondered throughout the film what was really going on in Burr’s apartment…and then I found that I knew all along. The expected moral of “don’t get sucked into a hysterical voyeuristic paranoia” turns into “spy on your neighbours, and suspect the absolute worst of them, because you’ll probably be right.” That’s a message I think we can all get behind in These Troubled Times.

One thing I greatly enjoyed about Rear Window is that Grace Kelly, hallowed specimen of feminine virtue and beauty, spends most of the movie putting the big-girl moves on Jimmy Stuart, and he is not having it. He’s not impressed by her fancy job or her pretty clothes. The only thing holding the relationship together is their shared trait of being sneaky and having nothing better to do than spy on people. Ultimately, that’s what works for them, and we should be happy for them.

I have to subtract a few points because, every time Jimmy Stuart’s nurse visits him, she fails to assess CSM in his foot below the cast or do anything remotely nursely at all.

I add a few points back for the unexpectedly funny bit of dialogue wherein Jimmy is talking to his boss about the racetrack photography accident that left him with a broken leg. Of the experience, Jimmy says “You wanted something dramatically different, and you got it!” The boss says, “So did you!” Heh.

Final score: Approved.

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