Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Beauty of Words

Just finished watching A River Runs Through It, which is on my top 20 list of favorite movies of all time. It is breathtakingly photographed, brilliantly cast and acted, and is by turns melancholy, tragic, eloquent, joyful, and deeply true - a story about the bonds of family and the meaning of love, love of family, and the love of God, and our spiritual connection with nature, illustrated through the use of fly fishing as both sport and metaphor. The score (by the incomparable Mark Isham) is simple and beautiful, particularly "The Moment That Could Not Last" and "In the Half Light of the Canyon," played at key moments in the film, makes my throat and heart squeeze with emotion.

The story is taken from a semi-autobiographical novella by author Norman Maclean, about his life growing up in Montana. The narration by Robert Redford (also the director) is perfection. This is the final bit of narration of the film, taken directly from the book. Every single time I get to this point in the movie, I am brought to tears by the beauty of these words, the beauty and tragedy of the film, and the wonder and mystery of our humanity and God's creation.

But when I am alone in the half light of the canyon all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul, and memories. And the sounds of the Big Black Foot River, and a four count rhythm, and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.


Julie Layne said...

I need to watch that movie with you sometime. I'm pretty sure the first time I saw it, I was in my post-baby "can't stay awake for a whole movie" period. :-)

(btw, Yay, Gail!)

Bungi said...

Julie sent me here... And i think i have found the perfect movie suggestion blog... Well, like your other stuff too... Cheers!