The Green Knight

The Green Knight ★★★★½

••• If you haven’t seen this movie, please don’t read here until you have as I’m going to mention the ending, and it’s much better not knowing beforehand.

If you have seen it, this article is fantastic & illuminating. Highly recommend. Gives insight from Lowery as well as explanations for the most obvious unanswered questions.

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“I wish I could see the new you.”

Wow. Hit me on multiple levels in ways I didn’t expect. I’m fresh out of the theater, so I’m feeling a bit stream of consciousness at the moment. May or may not result in a cohesive whole, but perhaps that’s apt & in harmony with the spirit of the film. 

Right off, thought of a couple specific things: The Revenant, The Seventh Seal, and the biblical story of Jonah. Primarily, though, a passage from Adaptation resonated well with the climax of The Green Knight, & I kept turning it over & over in my mind: “What I came to understand is that change is not a choice, not for a species of plant, not for me. It happens, and you are different. […] Something happened in the swamp that day.”

He didn’t realize it at the time, but while Gawain experiences all of these seemingly random side quests on his journey, they are subtly affecting his eventual trajectory. Although he’s reactive & easily swayed for the majority of the trek, everything that occurs is orchestrated as a means of moving him forward. Moving him to his destiny. And I saw his certain I’m ready self-actualization as a culmination of finally, deliberately making a choice (vs just going along with everything) + recognizing he is different now. He has been changed. He’s both disillusioned & sure. It’s a powerful transcendent moment. Regardless of what follows, he has found himself, but not by himself. It’s honestly an overwhelmingly hopeful notion—the idea that while we do ultimately decide our fate in ways we can control, circumstances help shape us in ways not limited to our understanding or awareness

Adrienne Rich once wrote that the moment of change is the only poem. In a nutshell for me, that is what makes The Green Knight exceptional. Of course, it is gorgeous to look at with its breathtaking visuals & effects. High caliber everything—sound, costume design, writing, direction. Dev does wonders with the role in an understated transformation, and the rest are just varying levels of impressive. But what speaks to me profoundly is how the film unfolds in small vignettes, allowing you to reflect personally on your life, particularly the crossroads & detours you traveled & outlasted until you found your way.

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