Meet Average Joe

Meet John Doe (Frank Capra, 1941)

Forged like many Frank Capra's films, Meet John Doe is an efficient feelgood entertainment. Beginning with the fraud of the invention of the character John Doe (Gary Cooper) itself, Ann (Barbara Stanwyck) is an opportunist daughter of a great thinker. The values carried by John Doe are American conformism at its best, sometimes the film cheers them up and other times it feels more like a critic of their overuse to manipulate the average Joe that John Doe represents.

Even with all its feelgood/conformism for the masses, Meet John Doe has something particularly interesting about: the film was made at a time where America stood by itself without entering into World War II. The approach adopted by Capra is a little cynicism coming from the mouth of John's bum friend. He actually gives the chance to the film to express some anti-conformism speech about society, wealth, materialism, love, etc.

But like any Capra picture the speech never felt into philosophical questions or intense debates on society. They are films that give you hope on humans by showing average men that accomplish little things that symbolizes greater ones. One last thing, is it me or Frank Capra likes to have endings on Chrsitmas day?

A review by Michaël Parent

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