The Big Lebowski

Referencing the work of Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin, critics have called this film an example of “carnivalesque humor,” a genre that encourages audiences to “reflect on, and ultimately reject, their fears of power, law and the sacred.” This particular type of surrealism, they write, (1) features grotesque situations, (2) inverted hierarchies and (3) experimentation.

All three elements can be found in abundance in the film, which features multiple dismembered body parts, an outwardly wealthy and successful character who turns out to be neither, and an “intentionally confused” plot interrupted by occasional dream sequences. From the strange opening scenes through its anticlimactic ending, the film pushes viewers to be aware of the constructed nature of society. The film can be said to encourage viewers to question the norms upon which we base our lives: like meaning (good actions are rewarded, or that the end of things will be good, or somehow make sense), that following ”the social blueprint of life” actually will serve as a solution to our yearning for a meaningful existence.

(Note that: the protagonist isn’t a hero, he doesn’t ride off in the sunset with his girl, etc.)


What, if anything, is the bottom-line with this film, to your mind? What’s the message? What do you ”take with you”? Why? (Try to underpin your answer by describing things that happen in the film)

Post as a comment.

4 reaktioner till “The Big Lebowski”

  1. The Big Lebowski, to me, was less about the actual story and more about the adventures of Jeff Lebowski. His state of mind as he has to face all kinds of trouble, and as he has to pursue the story. He is calm, he is perfect, whilst everyone else is not. It is shown that after all of the things that goes on around him and affects him, he pours a drink and prepares a bath, to soak and relax away all his troubles.

    The Big Lebowsk is a play on numerous film stereotypes. It’s similar to a detective story, a noir or a parody. Jeff Lebowski has to deal with a kidnapping, but slowly figures out what is actually going on behind the scenes. There is also a narrative, one that is there to set the mood with a bit of thrill and a bit of humour. Since the fact that Walter was a soldier in Vietnam is brought up so often, there might be a connection between The Dude and his behaviour and one who was against the old Vietnam war. With Walter being the kind of guy who charges in head first, whilst The Dude often prefers not to take that kind of approach.

    And also, that guy in a cowboy hat and moustache really tied the movie together.


  2. For me, The Big Lebowski was more like a untold story and more about Jeff Lebowski’s adventure. This kind of film was more different from the Hollywood’s movies because like for instance their always is a protagonist who saves a girl, but this one isn’t.
    The Big Lebowski is more different because Jeff Lebowski has to face all the kind of troubles, like for instance the dude helped the millionaire’s daughter, Maude. He got into a fight against three germans, etc. But, he was still calm and a loser, while in other Hollywood movies aren’t.
    The Big Lebowski is kind of similar to Sherlock holmes, in my opinion, because Jeff Lebowski has to deal with kidnapping, finding clues and figuring out what could be behind all this.

    My conclusion to the message of this film is that a protagonist doesn’t have to be perfect to become a hero, he/she can be a loser and still do something good. I think also the producers thought about the poor people out there can still do something good for the state so they made a movie about it.


  3. I don’t think the writers of The Big Lebowski had a message in mind when creating the movie. In the last scene, a man is breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the audience. He mentions that there wasn’t really a message conveyed in the movie, but it was still a good and enjoyable story. This point is emphasized when you realise that the Dude’s life hasn’t really changed when the story is over. He keeps on living his life just like he did before the movie’s story took place.

    I do think the movie conveyed a message to the audience, even if it wasn’t meant to. The message I personally recieved was that you shouldn’t worry too much about things happening around you. There’s no point getting stressed about things you can’t change and most things will most likely not affect your life as much as you think it will.


  4. The bottom line is probably that the world in movies is way over exaggerated compared to real life. The Big Lebowski shows the viewer a different perspective of the typical hollywood hero world. He is a drug addict, drunk, unemployed and are due on his rent. The main character is in short term a hobo. Lebowski does not try and help in an heroic act, he demands repayment for his rug that someone took a leak on. So the entire movie is a parody to the normal hollywood hero movie.

    A little thing can make a big difference,



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