The Big Lebowski

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Jeff Lebowski, better known as “The Dude” (Jeff Bridges), is confused for another man of the same name that happens to be a millionaire. A series of ridiculous events ensue, but The Dude just wants restitution for his ruined rug, man.

It goes without saying that The Big Lebowski is hilarious. The cinematography is incredible and the soundtrack is constantly on point. The performances are amazing. The chemistry between Jeff Bridges and John Goodman is contagious. The script is relentlessly funny, and I can’t remember the last time a film has elicited so much laughter.

But beneath this seemingly goofy comedy lies a film with deeper meaning. The first theme that revealed itself to me is the idea of people being false, pretending to be things that they are not.

Everyone in The Big Lebowski is lying about who they are. Walter (Jeff Goodman) pretends to be a tough veteran that constantly spouts facts about Vietnam because inside he is broken, unable to come to terms with what he has been through. Donny (Steve Buscemi) pretends to be part of the group, even though he is never included in conversations and his ideas are constantly shot down. Jeff Lebowski (David Huddleston) pretends to be a benevolent millionaire, but is greedy and cruel and broke. Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore) pretends to be a feminist with a posh accent, even though she secretly wants nothing more than to be a mother. It goes on and on, including every single character that graces the screen.

Except for The Dude. The Dude just… is. Until Walter puts the thought of money into his mind, and he starts to become something that he is not. Greedy. It is only then that his problems truly start, and his peaceful life of pacifism is shattered.

The message? Be true to who you are, despite what anyone else thinks. Just like The Stranger (Sam Elliott) says, isn’t it nice knowing that he’s out there? Someone who can just be himself, and be content?

There is also the idea that money causes problems, and that forgoing any concern about personal wealth is the only means to truly achieve happiness. All of the wealthy – or seemingly wealthy – characters in The Big Lebowski are miserable and strange. Alternatively, The Dude lives in near-poverty and yet appears to be content and happy.

Whether any of these messages are actually what the Coen brothers intended well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. What cannot be argued is that The Big Lebowski is an entertaining and hysterical film that will always be one of the best.

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