Without today’s technology, some of the greatest films ever would have never been created. But, I also love the movies made in the simpler decades of film-making. Many of them are true works of literary art, but so many people overlook this because they deem them boring or old.
Last week I had the opportunity to watch a film from 1938. The film, called You Can’t Take It With You, is just one of the movies in my family’s ever-growing collection of flicks. It is a black and white movie crafted before the birth of CGI, when films relied heavily on plot rather than on special effects to be successful.
Although this was not my first viewing of the movie, I was once again completely entertained by the story and its message.
The film follows the lives of two young adults who have fallen in love. The man (Tony Kirby) is the Vice President of a large company owned by his rich, high-society father. The woman (Alice Sycamore) is the man’s secretary and belongs to an eccentric family whose members are all involved in numerous, eclectic vocations (or rather activities).
After each meeting the other’s family, the two decide it is time for their families to meet each other. Alice, somewhat nervous for the Kirby’s to meet her family, tries to plan an elegant, uptight party to match Tony’s high-society upbringing and hide her strange roots. But Tony has other plans. He tells his parents the wrong night for the gathering. Evidently, his family joins the Sycamore’s on a normal evening at home.
Alice’s grandfather and Tony’s father don’t get along very well. They have very different priorities and views. Grandpa Sycamore opposes Mr. Kirby’s greediness and says to him at one point:
“Maybe it’ll stop you trying to be so desperate about making more money than you can ever use? You can’t take it with you, Mr. Kirby. So what good is it? As near as I can see, the only thing you can take with you is the love of your friends.”
Shmoop Editorial Team. “You Can’t Take It With You: Quotes about Wealth Page 1.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 24 Jul. 2017.
And this is where the theme of the movie is most evident. Both the Sycamore’s and the Kirby’s thought they had life figured out. The Kirby’s were focused on wealth and image while the Sycamore’s were focused on less material things like friends and family. Instead of worrying about living a lavish existence, the Sycamore’s did what made them happy. They did what they loved.
From writing plays to dancing to making fireworks, Alice’s family did what pleased them. And they all loved their lives.
This message about the futility of pursuing wealth is also portrayed in Hebrews 13:5 where it says,
“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.””
In other words, trust God with what you have. Trust Him to provide for you in the future. Don’t just let that phrase on our money be some clever saying; let it be what you live by.
In God We Trust.
By the end of the film, the Sycamore’s convince the Kirby’s that there is more to life than money, that the only thing you can take with you is love. And in the last scene, Grandpa Sycamore gives a humble, trusting Prayer over their meal.
“…Well, sir, here we are again. We’ve had quite a time of it lately, but it seems that the worst of it is over. Course, the fireworks all blew up, but we can’t very well blame that on you. Anyway, everything’s turned out fine, as it usually does. Alice is going to marry Tony; Mr. Kirby, who’s turned out to be a very good egg, sold us back our house—he’ll probably forget all about big deals for a while. Nobody on our block has to move and, with the right handling, I think we can even thaw out Mrs. Kirby here. We’ve all got our health; as far as anything else is concerned, we still leave that up to you. Thank you…”
Shmoop Editorial Team. “You Can’t Take It With You: Quotes about Dreams, Hopes, and Plans Page 2.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 24 Jul. 2017.
Instead of fretting over the things they couldn’t control, the Sycamore’s trusted God to provide for them and to keep them healthy and safe.
So today I challenge you to stop worrying about money. Do what you enjoy. Love your friends and family, and trust God.