Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, apparently playing themselves, share their lives over the course of an evening meal at a restaurant. Gregory, a theater director from New York, is the more talkative of the pair. He relates to Shawn his tales of dropping out, traveling around the world, and experiencing the variety of ways people live, such as a monk who could balance his entire weight on his fingertips. Shawn listens avidly, but questions the value of Gregory’s seeming abandonment of the pragmatic aspects of life.
After being released on parole, a burglar attempts to go straight, get a regular job, and just go by the rules. He soon finds himself back in jail at the hands of a power-hungry parole officer. When he is released again, he assaults the parole officer, steals his car, and returns to a life of crime.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) is an excellent film portraying the lives of three World War II veterans who return home to find out their lives and people around them have become incredibly different.
Compared to Vietnam and the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts, WWII is widely seen as the “good war.” Regardless of your take on that, this film is unique in how it shows the fallout and post-traumatic stress seen even from that war.
In addition, the film is worth seeing due to the lead Fredric March’s performance as the memorable Al Stephenson.
This one swept up at the Oscars back in 1946, back when they meant something more.