Yes. It's Braveheart. I can already hear the groaning and face palms. Some of you may even be heading to your taskbar in order to click your back button. Wait!
Braveheart has become notorious and hated in a number of circles -- historical, cinematic, cultural, even political. As with Gladiator, it's one of the rare films that's had its inaccuracies widely broadcast. The average citizen may not know a Plantagenet from a Hapsburg, but they can tell you about how Mel Gibson omitted the bridge from the Battle of Stirling Bridge. But whereas Gladiator still moves and touches a lot of people even when they know better, Braveheart just garners rage or eye rolls.
So, this week I wanted to shake things up a bit and write something that was a little personal. When I started this feature, one of the things I was keen to focus on was what cultural or political upheaval may have inspired a particular film, or what effects the film had on pop culture. Last week's selection of That Hamilton Woman was based on a variety of factors -- being sick, Memorial Day making me think about war, and the temptation to work in a bit of travelogue. When it came time to pick today's film, my gut said "You ought to write about Braveheart so you can write about crawling around tombs, your sore feet in Cheapside, and all that."
And maybe, just maybe, I can help rescue Braveheart from its cultural infamy. Because every once and awhile, I think it's ok for power to overcome facts, and for history to go utterly Hollywood, because it can inspire great things. Or just one nerdy teenager who was curious about swords, castles, and Stirling.