After watching the movie in class and taking some time to think about it, I’ve decided that I have very mixed feelings about Citizen Kane. I really liked the theme of the film, but I honestly do not think it was executed very well. At the very least, I don’t think that it is the virtually perfect movie that it is hyped up to be.
Though there were many things that I didn’t like about this movie, there were a few things that I did enjoy. The idea to center the film around Kane’s last words was a very smart decision. Because there is not a whole lot of action that takes place, there needed to be something to keep people watching. Charles Kane’s life was interesting, but it was not captivating enough to carry the movie all on its own. That is where the whole “Rosebud” mystery came into play. Wandering exactly what rosebud meant was enough to keep less interested viewers watching until the conclusion. While we are on the topic of “Rosebud,” it is worth mentioning that the big reveal at the end of the movie was worth the wait. It went along perfectly with the themes throughout the rest of the film, and actually made me feel quite sad for Kane, as well as his real life counterpart, William Randolph Hearst. These are men who could have any material thing in the world, yet they died with nothing of real value, as they had lost everything that really mattered. This is what makes “Rosebud” so special. Kane’s last words were him longing for the better days of his life, which in this case, were when he was a child. If he could take all of his fame and fortune away in order to be that boy enjoying the winter weather again, he would. After leaving his family, it was all about him. There was never truly anybody that he loved. He loved that his partners loved him. It certainly was not pretty to realize that he had these regrets, but it had a strong impact on the theme, which was that the “American Dream” shouldn’t necessarily be about amassing wealth or material items. Things like family and love are much more important in the long run.
There were some things that I think could’ve made this film more enjoyable. I think better visuals really would have helped draw more interest. Unfortunately, this isn’t really something that can be helped, considering it was released in 1941, but it’s hard to argue that that movie would not have been better with color and the increased film quality that we enjoy today. No matter how good a movie is, I feel like a lack of color is always a massive let down.
I’ve reserved “the ugly” for things that actually could have been improved, as the visual quality is just an unfortunate liability of the time. The massive plot hole at the beginning of the movie frustrated me to no end. The fact that everybody somehow knew Kane’s last words was ridiculous. I don’t see the problem with having the nurse in the room with Kane when he died. In this scenario, we would know his last words because she was there to hear them. In all honesty, its not that big of a deal, but when your movie lacks action and mass intrigue in favor of a good story and writing, you can’t have gaping holes like this in the main plot line.