James Agee, who reviewed films for The Nation between the years 1942 and 1948, was charmed by the warmth of It's a Wonderful Life
and believed that it was an admirable and well-crafted piece of film making, yet nonetheless, he came away feeling like he'd been sold a bill of goods and rejected the movie primarily because he believed that films created in the Atomic Age should reflect the cynicism that created the era:
"Yet at its best, which is usually inextricable with its worst, I feel that this movie is a very taking sermon about the feasibility of a kind of Christian semi-socialism, a society founded on affection, kindliness, and trust, and that its chief mistake or sin --an enormous one - is its refusal to face the fact that evil is intrinsic in each individual, and that no man may deliver his brother, or make agreement unto God for him."
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Additional articles about It's a Wonderful Life can be read here