Books and Movies Reviews


The movie Braveheart, directed by Mel Gibson, tells the story of
William Wallace, freedom fighter for Scotland at the end of the 14th
century.The movie reflects the universal theme of freedom, with the
specific theme that some things are worth fighting for.
The movie works because the story is complex on multiple levels.
First there is the conflict between Wallace’s desire to live in peace and
simply raise a family in peace.This desire is in conflict with The king
of England, Edward “Longshanks,” and his determination to dominate
Scotland.His tactics, such as “prima noctur,” where English landowners
have sexual rights to every Scottish bride on the night of her wedding, are
intolerable to Wallace.Within Longshanks are multiple conflicts: his only
son is apparently a homosexual, making it unlikely that he will produce an
heir with his wife.The prince’s wife has met Wallace, and because
Longshanks underestimates her abilities, is able to pass military
information on to Wallace multiple times.
Character entrances are particularly well handled.Thefirst time we
see Wallace he is a child pretending with to fight the English by throwing
rocks at them.When he returns to his village as an adult, he throws rocks
again, providing humor as well as a solid connection with his childhood
friend.When his young wifefirst enters, it is at the funeral of
Wallace’s father, as she gives him a flower.Later we see he has kept the
flower all through the rest of his childhood away from hisfirst home.
Longshank’s son and his wife are introduced at their wedding, where
the conflict is made clear as the prince communicates clearly with his eyes
to his male companion.The entrance of Robert the Bruce is more subtle.
He is heard before he is seen, as a voice-over.The text he reads is
neutral, like listening to a well-written history book being read.This


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