East of Eden by Elia Kazan

2 responses to “East of Eden by Elia Kazan

  1. I fully enjoyed this movie. The character development, acting, and cinematography were superb. I felt the dialogue was very compelling. It kept me going the whole way. I found myself hanging on to each word that was spoken.

    I identified with Cal’s desire for his father’s approval. Despite a difficult relationship with my father, at some level, I still wanted his approval. Even as an adult, when I told myself that it didn’t matter, I knew that somewhere deep down inside it still did. As the film demonstrated so well, parental approval can be such a powerful force.

    A final thought, naturally we look at movies from a different era through our own prism. It’s easy for us to chuckle and say that a film is dated. But is it fair to say that our films have evolved to a higher level, or have they simply changed? What if the tables were turned and we could look in on a Cinematiki Maui group discussion circa 1955 concerning a drama from 2010. Perhaps they would be critical of the style of hyper realism that is demonstrated in so many of the movies of our era.

  2. I had not seen a James Dean film before, though I was aware of his reputation. In the movie, I could see his mystique and understand it, but I did not feel it. He played a troubled young man that was more sad than rebellious. He was a classic “bad” boy that had been unloved and abandoned by both his parents. When your mother dies when you are young, you can feel abandoned, but at the beginning of the movie he finds out that she actually did abandon him. He first hates her for abandoning him, then he tried to get her love in a child-like way of tagging behind her until she notices him. He gets her to prove her love by getting her to loan him an immense amount of money, $5,000. With the money he makes in beans futures from that loan, he tries to buy his father’s love. The movie explicitly talks about his attempts to get his father’s love, but his courting of his mother’s love was less explicit, though apparent. In the end, he is successful in obtaining both his parent’s love and even the love of his brother’s fiancee. I appreciated Dean’s portrayal of this character and particularly liked the chemistry between his character and his brother’s fiancee, Abra. Their relationship was very believable and enjoyable to watch develop throughout the story.

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