Sunday, February 1, 2015

Legends of the Fall (1994)

  "I thought Tristan would never live to be an old man. I was wrong about that. I was wrong about many things. It was those who loved him most who died young. He was a rock they broke themselves against however much he tried to protect them."   ~One Stab

    I've been debating whether or not I should write a review of this movie for ages (translate: a few days) ever since I saw it and was completely overcome with the depth and drama of it. I wasn't sure if I should, since I didn't know if it's the kind of movie many of my readers would be interested in, and plus I'd probably just end up gushing and ranting and ultimately end in a puddle of tears at the end. But, I've decided I must. I just have so much to expound upon, I can't resist. So be ye warned, this may get scary.

   The first introduction I ever had to this movie was...golly, probably four years ago now, when I saw a trailer for it on something else and I immediately thought WHAT is this movie!?!? It looked like the greatest movie ever. I was starstruck. I MUST watch it. My mom recalled having watched it years ago, but she said there were some inappropriate parts, and when I found out what it was rated, I resigned myself reluctantly to the fact that this was a movie I wouldn't be watching anytime in the near future.

   I may have kind of forgotten about it for a while. But then my sister discovered the soundtrack, and I promptly came to the conclusion that it was the most beautiful music ever written. Some time later I bought the soundtrack, and commenced listening to it at least once a day.

  (I just realized something: all my reviews seem to start with some long-winded story of how I first got acquainted with the movie. Don't y'all love that?) ;-P

  Where was I? Oh yes, the soundtrack. To put things in the simplest way possible, IT'S GORGEOUS. I'm listening to it at this very moment while I type this, swooning over the beauty and pure epicness.

  So the more I listened to the music, the more I yearned to see the movie. I suppose I kind of pestered my mom about it-- when can I watch it? We can just skip over the bad parts! I just know it'll be so good! But my mother, being wise as she is, thought it best I wait a while.

   Well, the other night, I watched it.

   And I am still getting over it.

  GAAAHHHHHH THE FEELS! The drama! The tragedy! The romance! AAAHHHH!

  This movie is just MUCH. There's so much to take in. So much happens. It's almost too much. No, it's definitely too much. You almost can't handle it all. And that's what makes it so amazing. It's not exactly a western, and it's not exactly a war movie, though it does have elements of both. If you want to call it anything, call it a tragedy. What it is is drama. A lot of it.

  This is definitely one of the most tragic movies I've ever seen; and people, I've seen some sad ones, believe me. ;-P It's a sad movie about sad people. But it's sad without being bleak, so it's not depressing or discouraging, at least I didn't find it so. It's just so darn good. *sighs dramatically* I can't...I just can't....OHHHH.

  Yeah, I told you I was still recovering. :-) I watched it three nights ago, so I'm just starting to get over the initial impact.

  One of the main things that makes this movie what it is is most definitely the acting. I mean, just look at the cast. Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond. It even made me like Brad Pitt, for heaven's sake. The characters were all troubled people, who lived through terrible things, and most of them ended tragically too. They were all so deep, and all the actors brought the people to the screen so completely. Sometimes I don't realize what really good acting is, because if it's that good I'll just be so absorbed in the story and the characters' lives I sometimes won't even remember that I'm not really there watching it all happen. That's what really brilliant acting does. At least to me. Does anyone else feel that way?

    The story centers around Colonel William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins) and his three sons, Alfred, Tristan and Samuel. It's the just before the first World War, and they are living happily in rural Montana. Then Samuel gets engaged to Susanna (Julia Ormond) and brings her back to his father's ranch, and shortly after that all three boys go to war. Up until this point things have been mostly good; but after the three brothers leave, the tragedy begins, and it stays that way pretty much all the way through to the end.

   The theme of family relationship and strife between brothers actually reminded me a little of East of Eden, although EofE is a better story all around in my opinion. The strongest theme of the movie was that of the bond between the brothers, which was absolutely fascinating. Tristan's devotion to Samuel and Alfred's timely appearance coming to his brother's rescue had me in tears. There was just so much emotion.

The three brothers heading off for war....MAJOR feels at this point.

  I won't go into great detail about all the characters because I'd probably just start bawling and not be able to write anything coherent, and nobody wants that. But I can't restrain myself from gushing a little, so you may just have to deal with it. ;-P

  Tristan (Brad Pitt) was basically the main character, and the movie is basically all about Brad Pitt. He was also the most tragic character. Tristan was a very complicated person, sometimes downright horrible, but the tragedy he had seen and endured helped you understand why he acted the way he did sometimes. (Although there was a while there when he was actually not right in his head....that was scary.) I didn't fall in love with Tristan or anything. He wasn't a bad person, but his mind was so fixed on revenge so much of the time and he didn't live by many morals. But I certainly didn't hate him, and I really felt for him when so many terrible things kept happening to him.

   Alfred was the oldest brother, the one who "followed all the rules". He wasn't particularly brave or dashing, but he did his best to be a good son and brother and husband. And just.....Aidan Quinn. I have no words. :-)

   Samuel was the youngest brother, the sweet and sensitive and innocent one. He was very noble and wanted to do what was right, which was what drove him to the army in the first place. And...I will say no more. *tries to keep composure*

    Susanna! Oh, what can I even say about her? Well, an easy thing to say is that she's very beautiful, and I loved her hairstyles. :-) She also had more to deal with than she deserved. That doesn't even begin to cover it. As Alfred said, "You deserve to be happy," but for most of the movie she wasn't. Oh, the pain! The grief! The despair! *ahem* Yes...she was another tragic character. And I'd better shut up before I say too much.


    Anthony Hopkins is Anthony Hopkins, and Anthony Hopkins is brilliant in every role he's ever played, so that's that. Any questions?

Aidan Quinn has the most amazing eyes.

   So....did I like this movie? Yes. I did. It's brilliant. It's so sad at parts you just want to scream, but it's beautiful and epic and dramatic and I actually did love it. It is rated R, though, for violence and language and some nasty parts-- the word 'nasty' here meaning people without their clothes on. (They're not too frequent, though, and they don't last very long so it's easy to just turn away.) The violence is the worst part. There are a few really intense, gory scenes that I didn't watch. The language wasn't horrible, except for one tiny little part-- it's a very adult movie, so I definitely recommend discretion. I'm glad I waited until now to watch it, because it's not very easy to handle. It is a very dramatic movie, though, so if you don't like stuff like that, you might just want to pass. But it's a good story, despite its flaws, and being the starry-eyed dramatic I am, I'm still swooning over it. :-)

   And I can't forget to mention the ending, which was the best thing since East of Eden. I cried. I almost screamed. It was really quite something. And James Horner's score is, again, breathtaking. It really adds a huge element to the scope of the movie.

   So, there you go. It really is a brilliant movie. Now go back and count how many times I used the word "dramatic". :-) 

  "I'll wait for you, Tristan. However long it takes. I'll wait forever."


  1. I love reading about how people find movies, and about their relationship to them, how the movies affect them. I like that better than a straight-up review, to be honest.

    I've only seen this once, but I remember when it came out, my best friend was in looooooooooooooooooooove with it. In fact, I actually avoided seeing it for many years because she was so ridiculously swoony about it and wouldn't stop talking about it that I got really sick of it. But I did see it at last, and liked it.

    Isn't Aidan Quinn wonderful? :-D

  2. Hamlette,
    I know EXACTLY how your best friend feels. This movie hit me like a ton of bricks and I'm still swooning over it. I'm trying not to be ridiculously obsessive, but at the moment it's rather difficult. ;-P But I'm glad you finally saw it and liked it.

    YESSSS, Aidan Quinn is awesome! He's one of my mom's favorites, so when he came on screen she had to hit me several times. Then we were both dying at the end when he shows up and fires the shot....OOOHHHHHH.

    It's funny, before I watched this I had never seen Brad Pitt in anything, but now I have discovered a weakness for him. ;-P But my mother says most of his other movies aren't this good.


  3. I have this... personality quirk? I have a tendency to insist I dislike actors who I deem "pretty" and assume they can't act and are only popular because people are cute. And then every now and then, I'll see one of them in a movie and discover that oh, they actually can act! Huh!

    Brad Pitt is one such. He's not a huge favorite of mine, but he's done some interesting movies. I haven't seen many of them, and a lot of them weren't that great. I do enjoy the "Ocean's 11" series, they're quite fun, but IIRC a little inappropriate here and there. He's amazing in "Troy," but that's very violent and has one must-skip scene. I think my favorite thing of his is "Meet Joe Black," which also has one must-skip scene, but otherwise is a very fascinating movie.

  4. Wow, it's such a long time since I heard about this movie. I watched it years ago (I guess when I was about your age) and I was very much impressed by it then as well. Impressed, but also saddened, thus I never watched it again. Maybe I should sometime!

  5. I just watched this movie and let me just say... Wow. This has got to be one of the saddest movies ever!! I would have absolutely loved it if it would have ended when Tristan was married and had his two kids. But sadly it went on to be so tragic! It didn't even have a good ending! So yeah...I was depressed to say the least :) ~Kristalyn

  6. Reading this made me maybe-sorta-kinda-really-absulutely-MUST want to watch this again. Like, its a need. And with you, or course, cuz that was too much fun. ;-p

    1. Reading this takes me back to a year ago when this horrible (a word which here means utterly incredible) movie swept over my life and left me star-struck for about three months. I definitely loved it more the first time -- probably because it was all new to me, and I wasn't watching it on a huge screen in some stranger's house with ugly cats hanging on me. ;-P But I would LOVE to watch it again with you. See if I can produce more tears the third time. (I cried SO much watching it with Mama. I cried the second time too, but only at the end. At least I did cry, though -- I would have been very disappointed if I hadn't.)


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