The first thing that really strikes me about this movie is how watchable it is. This is good because it is also a very long movie, needed two discs of DVD to show the whole thing. This also gives them a chance to focus on a lot of different relationships, including a few nice scenes that develop a friendship between Melanie and Rhett's prostitute friend, Belle Watling. The one relationship that doesn't get much focus is that between Rhett and Ashley. Aside from the scene where they pretend Ashley is drunk when he actually went on a raid against the carpetbaggers, they don't interact that I recall.
Scarlett cries a lot, sometimes manipulatively and sometimes sincerely. Hence my using my Buffy crying icon. I can see some similarities between Buffy and Scarlett if I squint--both start out shallow and end up deepened by events, and taking responsibility for others. Scarlett, in her famous "I'll never be hungry again" scene declares that "my folk" won't go hungry, either. But Buffy has an essential compassion to her that Scarlett lacks. Scarlett never entirely loses the selfishness and shallowness of her youth. Buffy is also not manipulative in achieving her ends the way Scarlett is. Then again, they live in very different worlds.
More eloquent people than me have criticized the movie for its racism. It really struck me watching a scene where slave children are fanning napping young white women how obvious it ought to have been that this institution of slavery was wrong. But it wasn't obvious to most of the white people living in that place and time. The movie romanticizes the antebellum South (and, unless I missed it, never outright states that the war was about slavery), and portrays the enslaved major characters as content with their role on the plantation.
Ashley Wilkes and Scarlett O'Hara's scenes tended to bore me this watch, so I didn't catch all the details. Scarlett and Rhett were more entertaining, but very much an accident waiting to happen. Rhett ignored Scarlett's consent as early as the scene where he leaves her after leaving Atlanta. Perhaps we were supposed to think she really wanted him to kiss her, despite her insisting that she didn't. In a later scene, he says that he thought he could make her love him, which sums about half of the problems with their marriage. The other half of problems are represented by her greater interest in his money than in him, always a difficulty in making a happy marriage.
I like the first part of the movie better than the second part. Once Scarlett and Rhett get married it feels almost like a different story. The characters stay right, though, and it does provide closure for several characters and relationships that we wouldn't have otherwise. I don't mind that movie ends on an unresolved note, though. It feels like a continuing story, and even though it was enjoyable to watch, it still needed to end sometime. The movie is quite long enough.