Sunday, 4 March 2012

A Man for All Seasons

A Man For All Seasons, 1966
Directed by Fred Zinneman
Nominated for 8 Oscars, Won 6
Up Against: Alfie, The Russians are coming! The Russians Are Coming!, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Sand Pebbles

This movie tells the story of Thomas More, a Chancellor to King Henry VIII. Thomas was a moral man, and stood up firmly, for what he believed in. And in this case, he disagrees with Henry wanting to divorce his current wife so he may wed Anne Boleyn. And this movie tells of how he stood up against it all, and in the end, paid for it with his head.

While I found the first hour or so to be a little slow, the second half was a lot more interesting. The first half told of how Thomas More rose to become a Chancellor, and how the King kept trying to gain his approval for the divorce and new marriage, whereas the second half was about how King Henry deems himself Supreme Head of the Church so he can warrant his own divorce rather than waiting for the Pope's approval, how More resigns rather than accepts this, as he see's it as an abomination to what God wants for his people. A new oath is instated about the marriage, and must be signed or you are guilty of high treason, which More eventually is.

As mentioned, it took a little bit to get interesting (for me), so the storytelling was a little choppy. However, the acting was good. Paul Scotfield, who played Thomas More, won Best Actor for this role, and rightly so. He was calm and clear, but very powerful and authoritative. John Hurt was great as Richard Rich (who was apparently an unknown at the time, and this helped launch his career. Crazy to think he plays Ollivander in Harry Potter, he was such a little dweeby character), and just all the supporting cast was great. As I understand, it was a pretty all-star cast.

The costume design, additionally, was great. They were colourful and you could very much tell the difference between the rich, who were overly decked out, and the more middle-class.

The story itself is an interesting one. More is an amazing man, who stood up for what he believed in all his life, and even died for it. He was a Man of God, and really lived it, and made sure others knew it too. It's truly an inspiring story. The movie really showed his strength and conviction and the screenplay, as well as More's character itself were really well written.

Overall, it wasn't my favourite BP, nor was it near my least favourite, and it hit around the middle of the 25 I've already seen. (I'm keeping a list of best to worst, which I'll post when I've watched all 84 winners... though it could be 85 by the time I'm done..). But a good movie, a strong message and story, with solid acting.

Acting- 8/10     
Directing- 7/10     
Screenplay- 7/10     
Music – 8/10    
Visuals- 8.5/10     
Entertaining- 6/10    
Emotional Connection- 7/10     
Rewatchability- 6/10     
Overall Enjoyment- 7/10     
Overall Package- 7.5/10      

Total: 72/100 

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