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The Last Picture Show


I usually love films that feel like a glimpse of a distant time in a forgotten world that once was. And doubling that up with a dose of coming of age drama, I’m usually all for it… However, ‘The Last Picture Show’ didn’t quite do it for me. At least not as a whole. Most of the first hour had me struggling to care much about anything going on. I wasn’t invested in the characters, where they were coming from or where they were going. Of course, I realized, that in reality they weren’t going anywhere and that was kind of the point in a way. But the little moments leading up to all this just didn’t work for me much and the coming of age stuff was only interesting to me when it was coming to an end… when finally reflected upon it began to resonate with me, but we were past the halfway point by then and it was a little too late for me (sort of a like the characters in the film).

If the first half had worked for me then the second half would have hit even harder. Because when focusing on that second half and the transition into bleaker territory then I would certainly say there is something great to be found in this film. The way emptiness and loneliness come crashing down out of nowhere and quickly changes the tone of everything. The confusion about coming of age but also coming to terms with who you are, where you are going and what you are doing with life. How you must abandon something that might already have abandoned you and how the things that used to have meaning now have nothing at all – or perhaps it has taking on a different meaning entirely. All those thoughts, feelings and phases that is constantly changing and the inevitable confrontation of life with little to no comfort. It was almost a constant increase in interest for me, only it occurred to me a little to late. And like the characters, I was left with this weird feeling of something having passed me by… and I’m not sure if I missed it or if I’m just missing what was never really there to begin with?

Thankfully, unlike these characters, I have the ability to actually go back and relive the moments. I will probably do that in the future, but for now, this was a frustrating watch for me. I’m not sure if the coming of age stuff really worked for me or if the images of dogs trying to mate or traffic lights going from green to red was really thoughtful, playful or neither of those things. Here’s hoping the first half will work much better for me in the future...