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Friday, July 5, 2013

Goodbye, Columbus, The Quintessential Movie of My Generation

[Goodbye, Columbus, movie review]

I've certainly not seen every movie made during my years of living, so someday I may feel differently but, for now, Goodbye, Columbus is the quintessential movie of my generation. Nothing I've seen with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery, or any other actor comes close to qualifying. Their movies are genre movies for the most part and do not reflect the essence of my generation's cultural concerns. Goodbye, Columbus does so in spades.

Goodbye, Columbus works on several levels. It portrays the American version of the class system. It reflects my generation's concern with authenticity. It asks the question "Who's responsible for birth control?" It even dips into racial relations. And it all works together brilliantly. The movie is a close version of the novella by Philip Roth, a story I read and reread several times in my youth.

In some ways it's stereotypical: the frivolous rich versus the  self-conscious middle class. But the psychological precision of the conflict between Neil and Brenda, who "love" each other, raises it to a universal level. These are two people who love each other for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps they don't really know what love is.

And which person is responsible for birth control, the man or the woman?  This is not an irrelevant question even today. I think today, we'd say both are responsible, but back then it was assumed that the woman would be. The pill had liberated women and given them control. So it was their responsibility. At least that the way it was in the early years. In reality, it still may be so.




10 comments:

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I haven't seen this movie but I would most definitely like to now after reading this.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Have not seen this movie, but will definitely want to after reading your post.

Jon said...

Believe it or not, I watched "Goodbye,Columbus" a few weeks ago and had a discussion about it with a friend of mine (we had both read the novella in high school). She loves the movie, but it has never been one of my favorites.

You've pointed out some aspects of the film that I never considered, and have given me reason to modify my negative opinion. Thanks for your insight.

Elise Fallson said...

Hi Richard. Blogger has been giving me fits and I can't seem to reply to comments anymore. Very frustrating. Anyway, to answer your question about my drawings, I do them both by hand and on computer. First, I sketch it out on paper with a pencil. Then I'll use a pigment liner to outline it all. Then, I scan the drawing into photoshop where I'll add color and do some touch up. It probably would be quicker and easier to do it all on the computer, but I don't know how. Hope blogger lets me post this reply, if not, I'll post this on facebook. (:

Elise Fallson said...

Yeah--it worked! Just wish I could post replies on my own site. grrr. As for the movie, I've never seen Goodbye, Columbus but I did check out the trailer on youtube, looks like something I'd enjoy. I'll have to check it out one of these days.

Tanya Lynne Reimer said...

I cringe to think about the movies that define my generation. lol. This sounds like a great movie that rises a lot of great questions and debates!

Helene Titsch said...

A movie I've never see but now I'm certainly intrigued.

Julia Hones said...

Why would the woman be the only one responsible for birth control? A baby is conceived by two people. Hence, two people are responsible for the act of conceiving a baby.

CMSmith said...

Thought-provoking, Richard. I, of course, heard of Good-bye Columbus, but I don't recall ever seeing it. I wonder if I would have been just a tad too young.

I will have to put it on my to-watch list, for all the reasons you mention.

Wendy Ewurum said...

Oh birth control. definitely the responsibility of noth these days as their is a lot more than the birth to now worry about.
Wendy
http://fabulosityreads.blogspot.com/