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Oscars Challenge #58: Tom Jones (1963) Movie Review

"Best Comedy Ever Made... An Absolute Triumph!"

Tom Jones might have been one of the first screwball comedies and should have been the basis of recent movies in the same genre.

However, unlike other Best Picture winners, Tom Jones aged like milk. It's one of those forgettable films that you want to watch and put aside right after.

This movie begins when Squire Allworthy finds a baby on his bed. He suspects that it was the barber and maid's son. He names the baby Tom Jones and raises him as his son.

A few years later, Tom is all grown up. He is very popular with women due to his good looks and physique. However, he only sets his eyes on Sophie Western, a daughter of their neighbor who also likes him. Her father wants her daughter to marry another man he thinks is more suitable. That man is Mr. Bilfil, the nephew of Squire Allworthy. After his mother dies, during the funeral, he convinces the squire that it was Tom's fault. Allworthy gives Tom money and sends him away to seek his fortune. Tom embarks on a cowardly journey to find his identity while womanizing every woman he meets.

Directed by Tony Richardson. Albert Finney stars in the film as the bastard Tom Jones.

Maybe in 1963, this was an absolute hit. I can't imagine people paying to see this film in the theaters. Unlike recent comedy films, the jokes in this one are confusing. It's horrible that 30 minutes into the movie, you want to fast-forward to the end. The characters are forgettable, and Tom Jones is not a good role model to follow. Even the side characters are annoying.

Pretty much everything about the plot is confusing and forgettable. It's a slow burn that doesn't get anywhere. The ending does not even give justice to the whole film.

To be honest, I would rather see a sad, tragic film than a comedy film that is not funny or entertaining. Maybe the film with Sidney Portier, Lilies of the Field, deserves to bag the prestigious award.

A disappointing 1.5 out of 5 stars.

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