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Midnight Cowboy's peep-show vision of Manhattan lowlife may no longer be shocking, but what is shocking, in 1994, is to see a major studio film linger this lovingly on characters who have nothing to offer the audience but their own lost souls.
Midnight Cowboy moves beyond realism into an archetypal tale of the Big City destroying dreamers. Joe and Ratso, like Of Mice and Men's George and Lenny, are quintessential failed, lower-class, buddy-dreamers.