Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Journey of August King (1995)

    (Otherwise known as, my new favorite movie ever. Or one of them.)

    Oh, goodness. How do I find the words? My first reaction to this movie was WOW. My second reaction was WOW WOW WOW. I just.....I don't trust my own words to do it justice. *Emma weeps on sister's shoulder* Even so, I'm going to try to pull myself together and compose a coherent review for y'all, because I just HAVE to share my delight over this story, even if my own little exclamations come up short. I've got to. I'm 'bout to burst. ;-)

    Basically, The Journey of August King is the story of a man who, on his way home from a long trip to a stock market in 1815, happens upon a young slave girl who is running away from her master and decides to help her on her journey to freedom. August King  (Jason Patric) is a widower, a farmer, a quiet man who keeps mostly to himself living in the rural Appalachians. When he meets Annalees (Thandie Newton), he feels compassion for her, but is reluctant to take the risk of helping her. In a turn of events, though, he's stuck with this girl in the back of his cart, and ends up sacrificing pretty much everything to keep her safe.

    I can't get over Jason Patric. ;-) I probably don't need to mention that he was the initial reason for my interest in this movie....but yes, if we're going to be truthful, that's how it happened. As August King, he has a quiet, backwoods, unpretentious, gentle manliness about him that is just the most beautiful thing ever. August King is a widower, a pretty lonely guy, but mostly content with his humble life. What I love most about him is how he's ultimately willing to give up anything he has to for something bigger than himself that he knows is right.

    Like I said, he's quiet. August doesn't say much, really, but not in an uncomfortable way. And what he does say is absolutely gorgeous. I wish I could remember everything August says so that I can use it when the right situation arises. ;-) He's modest, honest, unusual. Not to mention apparently totally oblivious to how achingly handsome he is. He may very well be my favorite fictional hero.

I love his hat-- this hat is in a class with Woodrow's and Gus's as far as great movie hats ;-)


   Annalees is a totally unique character, unlike anyone I've encountered before. She's adorable, saucy, and incredibly brave. The way she comes out of her scared little shell and makes friends with
August (sometimes asking impertinent questions, *cough*...) just melts your heart.

   Watching this, I just sat there going "Oh! Oh! OH!" (Inwardly, of course-- to do so aloud would have been annoying. Not that it wouldn't have been true to character...ahem.) Because everything August does just makes my heart tingle and flutter around like a hummingbird, and every look Annalees gives is just so full of EMOTION and everything's just so stinkin' REAL and BEAUTIFUL. (And sometimes ugly, too. You'll get that.) You know when you watch a movie for the first time, and almost immediately you get that feeling: this is mine. That was The Journey of August King. From the beginning, I fell in love. I was transfixed. I still am.

   It has a bittersweet ending. You could have guessed that. ;-) I love those kinds of endings best. Happily-ever-after, everything's-perfect, Jane-Austen-type endings just don't do it for me. Now, I'm not saying I prefer Thomas Hardy endings-- but when a story leaves you in a less than ideal place, with a note of promise, it's much more satisfying, to me at least, than if everything ends up hunky-dory. 

   (And let's get one thing clear right away-- this is not AT ALL a romance. There's no August-Annalees thing. Not like that. Good, I just wanted you all to know.) ;-P

    August and Annalees's journey takes place through the Appalachian mountains, and the entire scenery is absolutely gorgeous. Forests, rivers, mountains. One thing we found unusual was the ridiculous number of people they run into along the way! I mean, it's supposedly rural country, yet there seems to be a festival going on practically every stretch of the trail. It's kind of funny (but inconvenient for August, hiding a fugitive slave!) Another thing that amused us was how characters from Christy kept popping up every five minutes; first there was Tom McHone, then Opal, then Little Burl, then Swannie O'Teal. It was like, hey, the whole family's here! We figured those people probably just live up in those mountains, and they get recruited to be in movies whenever a filming crew comes along. ;-)

     It's a simple movie, with not many characters and not a whole lot of intricate plot-- and yet it's really super profound. That's what I like most; the simple goodness. It's nothing flashy or big. There's no star-studded cast, just good ol' Jason Patric and an amazing actress named Thandie Newton who no one's ever heard of. Not a false note in the whole thing. The story rings with old-fashioned charm, historical realism. Watching it is like you're there-- and seriously, what better thing can you say about a movie?! The Journey of August King is a movie I will be singing the praises of for a long time. Not many movies get me like this one did. 

 Short version is: Absolutely loved it.

"I won't deny what I did. I don't want to be only what I was."
~ August King



    A pity it's not a romance, because THAT would've been sweet. But this look really good. I want to watch it with you. :-)

    And you're right, that fella is handsome. She's also beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. The characters seem SO likeable, both of them!!!

    ~ Naomi

    1. I don't me, the fact that it's not a typical romance makes it even more sweet. ;-P

      They are! They're both so unusual and beautiful. :-)

      Thanks Naomi!

  2. Oh my goodness, you have me convinced!!! I watched the trailer online and now I WANT TO FIND THIS!!!

    1. I wanted to put a trailer in the post, but I couldn't find one. Oh, yes! It's SUCH a good movie. :-)

  3. Emma,
    Congratulations on having the courage to tackle one of your 'heart" stories!!! Doing so always scares me so much because I'm afraid I will never have the right words.... and I mean how many exclamation points can one use? Thus I hardly write of my favorite westerns. Ah the troubles of terrific, tear-worthy stories! :)

    Simply seeing the first photo made me 100% sure that this was going to be a romance... (well now you know what type of brain I have :)). But anyway, now knowing that it isn't makes me want to see it all the more as I firmly agree that sometimes the non-romance heroes can sometimes be the most amazing!

    Annalees does look so glowing and in such a beautifully "innocent" way.

    Ah, and the scenery does look so lovely!

    I keep scrolling up and down the page just to drink in the gorgeous pictures and I don't when I will be able to stop. ;)

    1. Eowyn,

      Haha, well, I think I knew before what kind of brain you have. :-) (I'll tell you a secret-- I have the same condition.) No, it's not a romance, but like I said, I like it that way. There's no feeling of "Oh, I wish they would get together," or anything like that, simple because it just isn't. Can't think of a better way to put it. There's not a false note in the movie.

      You know, I've noticed that my favorite fictional men are rarely romantic heroes! It's rather perplexing. ;-P

      Annalees is beautiful. She's such an extraordinary character.

      Oh my, I know just what you mean-- it can be very difficult to talk about the things dearest to one's heart in a confident and composed way. Sometimes, though (as in this case) I just HAVE to share my ecstasy over a story. I hope I'm getting better at it. :-)


  4. Hmm...looks good! I mean--the gushies are here, so I'm guessing the feels were in abundance;)

    However, like Naomi, I've gotta say that as I was reading your review I was already shipping August/Analees *ducks head in shame* I know, I know! I'm a compulsive shipper, I must confess.

    Bittersweet endings can be AMAZING. But sometimes you just need the hunky-dory. I think it's interesting to consider bittersweet endings. I mean, the ones you were describing, the ones with "a hint of promise" (love that phrase, by the way!), tend to put me rather in mind of Heaven, where, I like to imagine, there will be a restfullness and a sense of fulfillment of what we've been waiting for around the corner of those bittersweet endings...okay, TOTALLY went all dreamy and philosophical there...anyway, great review! You have whetted my sense of anticipation and interest;)

    1. Olivia,

      Oh, yes. The feels were in abundance. You can be darn sure of that. ;-)

      What is with you people and your compulsive shipping! :-) Haha. I'm just joshing you. If you don't know the story, I guess it's easy to imagine August and Annalees like that, but they're really not at all. I can't explain it-- it's too beautiful. Anyway.

      YES-- I love how you described it. I've got to admit, bittersweet endings are my favorites, because of that. :-)


  5. This looks awesome! I'm fascinated by Appalachia, and have been ever since moving to the NC foothills when I was 12. Not a huge Jason Patric fan, but I've liked Thandie Newton in everything I've seen her in so far, so I will try to find and watch this!

    1. What, you're NOT a Jason Patric fan? I struggle to believe how such a thing could be possible.

      I'd never heard of Thandie Newton before this, but she's terrific. I'd love to see her in another movie.

    2. And here I thought you were being facetious about no one ever having heard of Thandie Newton! I really liked her in M:I:2 and The Pursuit of Happyness. And she was very gutsy in Crash.

      I've got nothing against Jason Patric, just not particularly a fan, is all.

    3. Well, I was kind of being facetious-- I'd never heard of her, is all. I don't think she was very famous at the time the movie was made.

      That's good to hear you've got nothing against him. ;-)

    4. Oh yeah, at the time I'm sure she was fairly unknown.

  6. Emma!!!!! Okay, I was really and truly smiling about this, because just about every single last thing you said is EXACTLY how I feel trying to formulate some sort of down-to-earth coherence about my favorite, Shadow on the Mesa. Same story: it's simple, nothing flashy, no romance, with a quieter and *quietly clears throat* good looking protagonist ;P -- and an ending that's not roses and sunshine, but hopeful and grippingly beautiful.

    All that to say, I know exactly what you mean and I'll really have to see this new favorite of yours, too, someday! ;)

  7. Someone who understands!!!!! :-) Hehe. Yes, do try to find it! It's so simply, quietly amazing.

  8. Hello Emma dear and oh! My sincerest apologies for not stopping by sooner! I've had a whirlwind of a week with my sweet sister attending a music eisteddfod and was either at a practice session or playing her pieces, so I was 'sister-sitter' while my precious mother was driving to and fro from town... Anways, enough with my rambling on for oh! I thoroughly enjoyed your movie review! You described the characters so beautifully and even though I haven't seen, let alone heard of this movie, I feel as if I already know them! Thus, I would like to compliment you on a delightful job! You are a natural at reviews, Emma!
    Now, I will certainly need to find this movie and see how I like it...I am sure I shall, though:)
    Hugs to you sweet friend and much love! I hope your weekend has been utterly splendid and oh! I promise to comment a bit more regularly from now on! I love my visits to your delightful little space on the web!

    1. Kelly-Anne,

      Thank you so much! Your sweet compliment really made me happy. ;-) Well, I certainly enjoy writing reviews. I hope I continue to get better at aptly describing my feelings for the stories I love!

      Your comments always brighten my day! I'm so pleased you enjoy your visits to my little corner of the web. ;-)


  9. Although this movie isn't a romance, the last 10-20 minutes does hint the potential of a romance between them. But race and her status as a runaway slave makes it impossible. However, the growing relationship between August and Annalees is still quite beautiful to watch.

    1. Rosie, I agree. It's beautiful to watch.


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