Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

15 April 2006

Hope and Glory

John Boorman's 1987 film Hope and Glory is a fabulous movie that I enjoyed from start to finish. It's about a young British boy who is left to his own devices during the summer in World War II when Hitler was carpet bombing England. It's full of whimsical explorations and serious musings about life, patriotism and war. A lot of it is tongue-in-cheek and yet so much of it is grave and powerful. It's really a movie of two minds, but it's a special, child's view of war that is never treacly or irritating (like Life Is Beautiful) and the rewards of the film are great. Boorman is able to capture the essence of family: all the fighting and difficulty though fierce bonds exist and the magic that is present in everyday life, even in difficult circumstances. Hope and Glory is thoroughly charming and boasts some wonderful performances.

This seeing-things-through-the-eyes-of-a-young-boy theme was very prevalent in 1987 when Hope and Glory came out. I was just looking at a list: Empire of the Sun, The Last Emperor, Radio Days, Au Revoir les Enfants and My Life as a Dog all came out that year. I know tons of other stuff came out that year, too: Moonstruck and Full Metal Jacket and RoboCop and The Untouchables and all that, but I think it's worth mentioning that six films about looking at things as children came out in 1987. Some kind of universal consciousness thing.

At any rate, as much as I love those other films, I think Hope and Glory is different from them in significant and interesting ways. I think it finds something rarely seen in cinema: magic in everyday existence and the fleeting nature of happiness (and pain) in a life absolutely chock-full of events worth remembering. Highly recommended.