Tuesday, April 11, 2017
After moving from a rural area to Chicago, the young Carrie is stuck doing a poorly paid job in a factory. After her finger gets caught in the sewing machine, she is fired and contacts a man she met on the train, Charlie, and he allows her to move in with her. They start a relationship, but Carrie falls in love with George, the manager of a restaurant. George runs away with her to New York and leaves his wife, Julie, children and job behind. However, out of work, the happy couple quickly starts succumbing to harsh poverty, since nobody wants to hire George since he took money from his old employee's vault to flee with Carrie. Finally, Carrie finds a job as a dancer and leaves George. Some time later, she finds out he became homeless and decides to return back to him. Upon finding out how rich she is now, an embarrassed George now leaves her.
Starting as a typical, idealistic love story between two people who are already married/engaged to someone else, "Carrie" shocks the viewers even more with its second half that works almost as an inversion of many other movies that end with a "happily ever after" — showing instead how the happy couple now lives in poverty and misery after running away, turning darker and darker, until it ends in one of the most tragic endings of the 50s, an indignation that in capitalism there can be no true romance. It is almost as if the story presents a world where people can have only one thing in life — either they can be in love and live in poverty or live a wealthy life without love — but not both. William Wyler once again proves what an competent director he is, whereas Laurence Olivier immediately proves that he is a rare actor with class (he knows his wife controls all his money, but he still wants a divorce to be with Carrie: "I found someone who loves me and I'm going to have that before I die!"; the sequence in the New York bar that shows his humiliation when he now has to work as an ordinary waiter...), yet this adaptation of Theodore Dreiser's novel "Sister Carrie" turned the socially critical context a little bit too melodramatic and syrupy, especially in the overlong running time, whereas the dialogues are plain. A richer writing would have been better, thought the movie is still quality made.