Movie Review: Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind Trailer

Gone With the Wind Summary

In 1861, on the eve of the American Civil War, Scarlett O’Hara lives at Tara, her family’s cotton plantation in Georgia, with her parents and two sisters and their many slaves. Scarlett learns that her secret crush Ashley Wilkes is to be married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton. At an engagement party the next day at Ashley’s home, the nearby plantation Twelve Oaks, Scarlett makes an advance on Ashley but is rebuffed; instead, she catches the attention of another guest, Rhett Butler. The barbecue is disrupted by news of President Lincoln’s call for volunteers to fight the South, and the Southern men rush to enlist in defense of the South. In a bid to arouse jealousy in Ashley, Scarlett marries Melanie’s younger brother Charles before he leaves to fight. Following Charles’s death while serving in the Confederate States Army, Scarlett’s mother sends her to the Hamilton home in Atlanta, where she creates a scene by attending a charity bazaar in her mourning attire and waltzing with Rhett, now a blockade runner for the Confederacy.

The tide of war turns against the Confederacy after the Battle of Gettysburg, in which many of the men of Scarlett’s town are killed. Eight months later, as the city is besieged by the Union Army in the Atlanta Campaign, Melanie gives birth with Scarlett’s aid, and Rhett helps them flee the city. Once out of the city, Rhett chooses to go off to fight, leaving Scarlett to make her own way back to Tara. Upon her return home, Scarlett finds Tara deserted, except for her father, her sisters, and former slaves Mammy and Pork. Scarlett learns that her mother has just died of typhoid fever and her father has lost his mind. With Tara pillaged by Union troops and the fields untended, Scarlett vows to ensure the survival of herself and her family.

As the O’Haras toil in the cotton fields, Scarlett’s father attempts to chase away a carpetbagger from his land but is thrown from his horse and killed. With the defeat of the Confederacy, Ashley also returns but finds he is of little help at Tara. When Scarlett begs him to run away with her, he confesses his desire for her and kisses her passionately, but says he cannot leave Melanie. Unable to pay the Reconstructionist taxes imposed on Tara, Scarlett dupes her younger sister Suellen’s fiancé, the middle-aged and wealthy general store owner Frank Kennedy, into marrying her, by saying Suellen got tired of waiting and married another suitor. Frank, Ashley, Rhett, and several other accomplices make a night raid on a shanty town after Scarlett is attacked while driving through it alone, resulting in Frank’s death. Shortly after Frank’s funeral, Rhett proposes to Scarlett and she accepts.

Rhett and Scarlett have a daughter whom Rhett names Bonnie Blue, but Scarlett still pines for Ashley and, chagrined at the perceived ruin of her figure, refuses to have any more children or share a bed with Rhett. One day at Frank’s mill, Scarlett and Ashley are seen embracing by Ashley’s sister, India. Harboring an intense dislike of Scarlett, India eagerly spreads rumors. Later that evening, Rhett, having heard the rumors, forces Scarlett to attend a birthday party for Ashley. Melanie, however, stands by Scarlett. After returning home from the party, Scarlett finds Rhett downstairs drunk, and they argue about Ashley. Rhett kisses Scarlett against her will, stating his intent to have sex with her that night, and carries the struggling Scarlett to the bedroom.

The next day, Rhett apologizes for his behavior and offers Scarlett a divorce, which she rejects, saying that it would be a disgrace. When Rhett returns from an extended trip to London, Scarlett informs him that she is pregnant, but an argument ensues which results in her falling down a flight of stairs and suffering a miscarriage. As she is recovering, tragedy strikes again; Bonnie dies while attempting to jump a fence with her pony. Scarlett and Rhett visit Melanie, who has suffered complications arising from a new pregnancy, on her deathbed. As Scarlett consoles Ashley, Rhett prepares to leave Atlanta. Having realized that it was him, and not Ashley, she truly loved all along, Scarlett pleads with Rhett to stay, but he rebuffs her and walks away into the morning fog. A distraught Scarlett returns home to Tara, vowing to one day win Rhett back.

Gone With the Wind Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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