This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Remobo’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
“Y’know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe; shipwrecked among 8 million people, and then one day I saw a footprint in the sand...and there you were.”
“The Apartment” is the delightful story of Jack Lemmon’s C. C. Baxter, an up and coming executive who has made his way up the ladder primarily by loaning his apartment out to other executives so they can cheat on their wives! He falls for Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), an elevator operator who is having an affair with a higher up who happens to frequent “The Apartment”. She finds out that she’s just the next name on his extensive list, right as Lemmon finds out that she’s been in his place before. Well, like you do, she (unsuccessfully) attempts suicide in his place. He helps her convalesce, and they bond. Lemmon learns the importance of standing up for himself (and others), and though he loses his job he gains much more.
This movie is like asking your grandparents how they met, and they tell you the whole truth. You can’t be upset; it’s a “different time”, they think the story is adorable, and it all has a happy ending (I guess). They tell you about how cute it was that your grandfather looked up her information, (including medical history) just to learn more about her. How the “Oriental” guy that played piano at their favorite watering hole went by the moniker “Rickshaw Boy”. And how, it was so lucky that the doctor that lived next door knew the “Beating the Shit Out of You” method for reviving people who OD on sleeping pills.
Billy Wilder is royalty, Lemmon a pure artist, and MacLaine...well, she deserves better. Fred MacMurray is dastardly. If you were looking for a way to make sure I never watch “My Three Sons” again, you found it. It all kind of feels like Neil Simon’s “In the Company of Men”. I wonder, though, if a script where adultery and suicide are played for laughs would find a place in today’s world. This films “classic” status also raises some eyebrows when you look at it as coming from the world where the Weinstein revelations were such a “surprise”.
This is a fun movie, but it feels like it’s not long from getting one of those “This was made in another time” warnings before it plays.