Like comedies, sometimes movies can be subjective. We either relate to the characters or we don’t. I personally have seldom connected more with a main character than I have with Marty.
Ernest Borgnine starred in what was probably his most popular role as Marty, a butcher from New York who still lives with his mom. Giving up on love, his mother tells him to attend the local dance club (“full of tomatoes”), which Marty agrees to just to get his mother off his back.
Enter Clara (Betsy Blair), a school teacher who is also unlucky in love. She is paired with a jerk who ditches her after he sees a old girlfriend. The guy asks Marty to take Clara off his hands, and Marty’s response cements our status of truly liking him. Marty really is a nice guy. He just is uncomfortable around women. Eventually, he does start talking with Clara, and their scenes are the best in the movie. This is not some 21st century hokie rom com, but classic Hollywood, when the stars actually had something WORTH talking about.
The film is actually not about romance, but about growing up. Marty and Clara are late bloomers, and it is about getting over that next step, regardless of what others may think of it (Marty also wants advice on how to except the butcher shop he works in as his own). There is also light humor in Marty’s family life, as his aunt is about to move in with him and his mother.
Parents, it is a 1955 film, so there is little to worry about if a kid sees it. It is more for adults though, because it deals with more themes an adult deals with in his our her life. Still, at only an hour and a half run time (the movies biggest flaw is that I wanted more), Marty is a classic among classics, and is still the only film to win Best Picture at the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscars. It is one for the ages.
Overall: Five Stars *****