Citizen Kane Response

22 Sep

Citizen Kane (1941) is a drama directed by and starring Orson Welles. The film starts with the death of Kane (Welles), and a reporter trying to figure out the significance of his dying word: “Rosebud.” Upon interviewing Kane’s friends and associates, the film takes us back in time to Kane’s childhood to show us, rather than tell us, the story of Kane’s life and what he achieved. After revisiting Kane’s entire life from childhood to death, the reporter is still in the dark about who or what “Rosebud” was, and the significance of Kane’s accomplishments. At the end of the film, after the reporter has given up on the Kane story, Kane’s possessions are all being sold, given away, and destroyed. The last shot is of his childhood sled being thrown into the furnace, an inscription on the top saying “Rosebud.” With this, it is to be assumed that Kane was unhappy with the megalomaniacal way he lived his life, and was only truly happy during his childhood.

Citizen Kane shows us the dark side of the American dream by giving us the entire lifespan of a man with a seemingly ideal life; we are shown every detail that went into Kane’s life, from his carefree childhood to his dying word. Often when we are shown wealthy and successful people’s lives, we only see those people’s accomplishments, their vast fortune, and the most public parts in the prime of their lives. We rarely see an entire lifespan from childhood to death where every detail is shown, such as failures, shortcomings, conflicts in relationships, and final self-analysis. Citizen Kane shows the dark side of the American dream by showing us what’s behind all the success and money in Kane’s personal life. In doing so, we see how Kane’s money cheapened his relationships, his possessions, and his way of living. In the end, all of Kane’s property and money were his undoing because they left little room for people he loved and things of emotional value.

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2 Responses to “Citizen Kane Response”

  1. ejgaylord September 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    I strongly agree that that film, Citizen Kane, did a powerful job of depicting the dark side of wealth and in turn the dark side of the American dream. I think that while many people are initially jealous of people with wealth and power, watching the life of Charles Kane does a good job to show how truly unfulfilling that type of life can be.

  2. lordbyrne September 28, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    I think you mean that the film shows us the negative aspects of Kane’s life whereas most “Great Man” biopics only show the positive, redeeming parts of life. 10/10. JB.

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