A Movie You’ve Seen Countless Times
This one was a fairly easy choice. I don’t tend to re-watch many movies, only those that I really enjoy. But I remember seeing Braveheart in theaters three times when I was only 12. That means that begged my parents or friends parents to take me because I was too young to go by myself. This was the first DVD I ever bought. I watched it so many times in High School that I now have the movie memorized. I’m not sure of my heritage, I’ve never done the ancestral digging to find out where my origins truly lie, but because of this movie, I tell people I’m Scottish. And I am proud to be a Scotsman.
I completely understand that this movie is not an accurate depiction of the real story of Scotland’s fight for independence. Wallace was a towering figure, charismatic and powerful. But this is a movie, not a history book. I would wager that if this movie wasn’t made, with all its embellishments, then most of the Western world would have never known the name, William Wallace. I’m not exactly sure what made it my go to film as a young man (my favorite until just a few years ago). It probably had something to do with the gory violence, and the comedic writing probably helped as well. But what really got me, I think, was the fact that I was able to lose myself in the film and become William, joining him on his journey.
We first meet him as a boy, no older than 10. And we see the heart-crushing loss that he suffers and delight in the beauty of a love so pure as a child comforting another child. We see that love grow and mature as William returns to rebuild his home and family years later. Then there is the wedding that I dreamed of having when I was a teenager; hidden in the woods, completely private, joined as one, and consummated in the moonlight. It is absolutely beautiful and so it is completely gut-wrenching when we see her abused and murdered. From this point on we are on the side of the liquid blue eyed vigilante, even though he is a savage and a brutal killing machine, he is our protagonist. I bet if the queen of England watched this film, she would cheer for William. Why? Because he fights for freedom and for justice. These are two desires for which all people’s hearts beat.
Looking back, it has been a while since I sat down and critically watched this film. It does suffer a bit from it’s length as it tends to drag a bit in the 2nd and 4th acts. That would be the background story of Robert the Bruce (little known fact: the title Braveheart was historically attributed to him, not Wallace.), and the love affair with the princess, which is total historical rubbish (she would have been in France at the time and only about 13 years old) and completely unnecessary, and contrary, to the heart of the film. That being said, this is still a film which I plan on showing to my sons and daughter when they are on the brink of the teenage wasteland. I hope that it can teach them what it taught me. That a life that is lived without purpose is not lived at all.
What about you? What movie have you watched until the disc wore out? What special connection does that film hold for you? Please leave your choices in the comments below, or let me know on Twitter or Facebook. Also, if you pluck up the courage to blog through your 30 Day Movie Challenge, leave me a link. I’d love to follow along with you.