Mona’s Movies: The Princess Bride
I decided to review The Princess Bride because I love a good myth full of archetypal elements and relevance to everyday life.
This film actually begins with a grandfather reading a story to his grandson, a classic oral family tradition in many countries. This story takes place in a fictional country called Florin. The grandson is sure he won’t appreciate a story about romance; however, he begrudgingly allows his grandpa to continue. I think he was pleasantly surprised.
In a case of mistaken murder, the film creates a trope; you can’t kill true love. The movie is expertly directed by Rob Reiner and the cast fills the screen with lost love, revenge, highly skilled sword fighting, and farm-girl rebellion. Prince Humperdinck is played by Chris Sarandon and in his warring mind, he justifies behavior I could only classify as gaslighting. The classic female lead is played by Robin Wright who is undeniably beautiful and kind to all her neighbors. She is taken by surprise when the farmhand, in his own way, declares his love for her. Westley, played by Cary Elwes, is the earnest and trustworthy farmhand who always says, “as you wish.” His love for Buttercup, the Princess Bride, is staunch and drives the film through much adversity.
The lessons about revenge are articulated best through the character Inigo Montoya who is played by Mandy Patinkin. It is worth noting that this actor has played on Broadway and received many awards. His performance in this film is both poignant and profound. After he finally defeats and kills his father’s murderer he says to Westley, “ I spent so long in the business of revenge I don’t know what to do with my life.” This quote demonstrates persistence vs. letting something take over your life. In our culture, it is less acceptable for men to appreciate romance or to let go of anger and revenge. William Goldman, the author of the original manuscript, points out and challenges these assumptions of manhood.
In conclusion, I would rate this great, family film 4.25 out of five stars. The main reason I didn’t give it a higher rating is that the film is lacking some backstory of the well-beloved side characters. They have plenty of funny lines but we don’t get much history about them. I suggest you let yourself relax into 1987 and enjoy the action.
By Mona Evans