Tom Jones (1963)

I am going to cut right to the chase with my thoughts on Tom Jones. This film, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1963 and rated the 51st Greatest British film of the 20th Century, was terrible. 

Tom Jones was considered one of the greatest comedies of its time, yet I did not laugh once. I thought the entire story was nonsense, and the way they edited the movie fit that description. 

I thought I had selected the wrong movie since the opening sequence is silent and the dialogue is told through flashcards. Indeed this was the right Tom Jones because there he was, lying in a stranger’s bed, the bastard son of someone to be named later. 

The rest of the movie is about Jones’ (Albert Finney) life as he sleeps with this girl and loves this girl. Because he is considered a bastard child, there is a certain stigma that comes with the territory. He is delegated to the lower classes and cannot marry the girl he loves, Sophie Western (Susannah York). 

His playboy ways catch up to him, and he finds himself in a sword battle, where he kills the husband of one of his late-night adventures. After he is charged with robbery and murder, he is sentenced to death. Somehow a mysterious letter pops up and proves that Tom Jones is not a bastard child, so he is released and is allowed to court Sophie, providing us with a happily ever after. 

I will repeat what I said in the beginning. This was all meant to be funny. That we were witnessing one of the time period’s most notorious bachelors living the lifestyle so many of us dream of. I was not impressed with any of it, whether it was the story, the characters, or the acting. Nothing appealed to me, and I felt worse after wasting my time on it. 

Tom Jones will always remain a mystery to me. Winner of four Academy Awards, I am left to wonder who was on the panel that year and why on earth did their choose this rather awful movie. Maybe I missed the humour, or maybe there is really nothing to enjoy about a film that is almost 60 years old now. 1/10


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