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I’m not sure I’ve met anybody who has never seen The Patriot (2000). And only a few people claim they don’t like it.
Being the week of 4th of July (a pre-Christmas in the Toy house), I thought it would be appropriate to remind everyone about this movie. Sarabeth and I watched some of it last night and I said to her, “It’s so sad that it’s basically the only known movie made about the Revolutionary war, but I’m so incredibly glad that this one is it.” I feel like the Civil War gets a bad rap because of the incredibly plastic and dull Gettysburg. (The sequel, Gods and Generals is actually a lot better.)
I’ve heard of people crying fowl about The Patriot, claiming that it’s full of inaccuracies. Most of those inaccuracies, as I understand, revolve around the freedmen continuing to act as servants to the Martin family. I’m not so sure what is inaccurate about that, since it did happen, though I’m sure it wasn’t common. Perhaps the film does romanticize life in the colonies a tad, but what movie doesn’t make things a little more prim and rosy than they actually are?
Watching The Patriot thirteen years after its release (and a few dozen viewings later), I still feel the urge to stand up in the church when men are being called on to fight. The Patriot truly brings out the patriot in me.
One of the strongest things the movie has going for it is its main villain, Colonel Tavington. Short of rape, he commits the most heinous, base crimes against a man and his family that could ever be imagined. So right from the start, you want to see this monster caught, captured, and if we’re honest, tortured. I have never hated an antagonist so much in any book or movie than Colonel Tavington. And that’s part of what makes The Patriot so much fun! You really, genuinely want justice.
The other thing I appreciate so much about The Patriot is – I know I’m going to step on a few toes here – even though it’s rated R, I consider it to be a family film. (I will talk about two others later on.)
Don’t write me off just yet. Yes, Sarabeth disagrees with me because of a particularly traumatic scene toward the beginning (“aim small, miss small”), and two dismembering cannonball shots. I say if those are the only graphic parts in a two-and-a-half-hour war movie – no sexuality, no cursing – then I’m not against skipping those parts so our kids can enjoy the rest of the movie and open up a conversation about the birth of our nation afterward. (Sarabeth insists that they have to be teenagers before we let them watch it, but I think I can get her down to age 11 or 12.)
If you haven’t seen it before, The Patriot is funny, tear-jerking, epic, suspenseful, and – well – patriotic. A great movie night for the family (with kids 13 and up, of course). If you are not a fan of Mel Gibson, I can respect that, but try not to let that get in the way of you enjoying a great flick about one man’s journey to discovering what’s really worth fighting for.
I’m curious to know if I’m in good standing still loving The Patriot as much as I did when I saw it in theaters, or if I’m off my rocker by having it as my top ten favorite movies ever. Share your thoughts!