Thursday, July 14, 2005

Familial love, rift and unrequited love

I spent my first vacation week of the summer putting my feet up and watching a few movies.

Let's start with Legends of the Fall.

This is a story about three brothers: Alfred (Aidan Quinn), Tristan (Brad Pitt), and Samuel (Henry Thomas) who were raised by their father, Col. Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins) with the help of their Native American friends. Their mother abandoned them because she couldn’t stand living in a ranch.

Samuel brought home his fiancée, Susannah (Julia Ormond) and then decided to go to war. His two brothers went with him . The night before they left, Susannah asked Tristan to help her persuade Samuel not to go. The two had a tender moment and Alfred saw this.

At war, Tristan, who was the wild one and an experienced hunter, tried to be always at Samuel’s side to protect him. But the one time that Tristan was gone to visit the injured Alfred, Samuel sneaked off and volunteered to be at the front lines of the war. When Tristan learned this, he immediately set out to find him, but he was too late. Samuel had been blinded by tear gas and two enemy soldiers took this chance to fire at him right there before Tristan’s eyes. Tristan went over to his dead body and wept.

When Tristan came home from the war, he and Susannah became involved, much to Alfred’s dismay because he knew that Tristan couldn’t make her happy. And Alfred was right. Tristan, burdened by the guilt over the death of his brother, left and roamed around the world. Alfred was furious when he read Tristan’s letter to Susannah that he won’t be coming back. Meanwhile, Alfred professed his love for Susannah. She married him although it was Tristan whom she loved.

Years later, Tristan did come back home and learned that the two had married. Alfred was now a politician. This had caused a rift between him and his father, who didn’t want him to be involved in politics. Their father had a stroke that prevented him from speaking. Tristan married Isabella Two who had been infatuated with him since she was a little girl and had now blossomed into a young woman. They married and had two children. The oldest was named Samuel, after Tristan’s brother.

When Tristan’s family was in town one day, Alfred and Susannah saw them. It was so heartbreaking to see Susannah’s pain when she saw Tristan with his family including little Samuel. She and Alfred didn’t have any children of their own.

Isabella Two was killed when the family was attacked by jealous politicians. Tristan attacked an officer and was sent to prison where Susannah visited him. She expressed that she still loved Tristan but he didn’t return her feelings. She took her life later. Alfred took her body back at the ranch. “You’re getting her back,” Alfred said in his telegram to Tristan.

Tormented by all of these tragedies, Tristan decided to leave. On the day that he was to leave, three officers came to the ranch and were about to shoot him. But Alfred was quick and shot them before they could kill his brother. Tristan asked Alfred to take care of his kids. Col. Ludlow forgave Alfred when he saw his oldest son stood up for Tristan.

In the movie, the mother abandoned her children. I could never do that. If I couldn't stand that ranch, I would have taken my children with me. I guess, the writer just wanted to give us a reason why the children were raised by their father.

The movie was set during the turn of the century. Even then, families had disputes and they drifted apart. The story shows us that no matter how much we disagree with our family, in the end we would stick up for them.

Before, I didn’t really find Brad Pitt that handsome. He had this square jaw and I wasn’t really crazy about that. After seeing a few of his movies, I can understand why girls swoon over him. But watching Legends of the Fall, I was distracted by his long hair. I liked the story, though, especially the part about the unrequited love. I wept. I can relate.

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