Skip to content

500 Five-Star: The Apartment (1960)

August 15, 2011

Everyone loves The Apartment.  It won the Best Picture/Best Director double at the Oscars and is in pretty much every Greatest Movies countdown in existence.  When it comes to a film like this, you can’t help but feel a lot of pressure to love it straightaway…so it pains me to have to admit that I didn’t love it.  I liked it, a lot, but love?  No.

So, why is this?  First of all, I’ll say what I did like.  I liked the witty dialogue (of course, it’s hard to dislike a Billy Wilder script), I enjoyed the two endearing lead performances (Jack Lemmon’s in particular), and I appreciated the fact that it was a comedy unafraid to go to dark places.  While it gives off the impression that it is a breezy, fun comedy, it’s really anything but; topics such as suicide, infidelity and the dark side of corporate life take up most of the 125 minute runtime.  It’s a cynical, quite sad film, but one that doesn’t take itself too seriously…it’s certainly never less than entertaining.  My problem, though, is that it never quite made me feel anything…and for me to love a film, I expect to feel some sort of emotion in connection with it.  I want to feel the character’s sadness, feel sad along with them, but I was never quite able to achieve this.  Part of this may even be related to two of the points of enjoyment stated above: the dialogue and Jack Lemmon’s performance.  Both are hugely enjoyable, but they never quite feel real.  It’s not all that easy to feel emotionally invested when you’re entirely aware that you’re watching a film; how can the mind let go and truly care for the characters if you can’t forget that that’s all they are?


Perhaps I’m being too picky.  After all, as I said, it’s a massively well-loved film and so my opinion is obviously in the minority.  It may well be that I need to see it again.  But right now, I have to go with my gut and say that I can’t agree with Empire (and the rest of the world).


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: