Every Friday I recommend an entertaining, slow-paced movie from no later than 1985 to help you unwind at the end of the week in our fast-paced world.
This week’s recommendation is 1982’s “Gandhi,” starring Ben Kingsley as the title character and directed by Richard Attenborough (you may know him as John Hammond from “Jurassic Park”), with many other recognizable cameos along the way.
The word “epic” is thrown around a lot these days; it’s come to be used much in the same way as “awesome,” which is fine. But whenever you want to remember what epic truly means, at least in terms of a movie, watch “Gandhi.” Its scope is unbelievably both huge and magnificent, one of the most ambitious palettes put on film.
Not only does the movie follow Gandhi through much of his adult life and his relationships with many people he meets along the way, but from beginning to end the movie is also grand and wonderful in every other sense as well. Many of the more intimate moments with the characters which probably seemed quieter in reality are captured in excellently-composed close shots, fantastically bringing out what the characters are going through in ways that you cannot ignore, without being over-the-top. Other scenes highlight the rich backdrop of India and the true scale of the issues involved with wide shots and thousands of extras. Many moments are the epitome of filmmaking as a great art form. This movie is as captivating visually as it is emotionally. It’s all human and pops off the screen.
The performances are fantastic; they’re very nuanced and moving, and are enacted within a style of filmmaking that is interesting to watch because, since every decade has its own styles, it’s not done as much anymore.
“Gandhi” is genuinely engaging, emotional, sometimes funny and always very telling. It weaves through complicated themes as well, of the specialized politics behind the surface of human rights struggles that many movies are tempted to leave out. The clash between nonviolence and the “real” world keeps you very invested. It’s not very sugarcoated and doesn’t label the conflicts as solved for you at the end. The movie is around 190 minutes and doesn’t waste a moment; it develops the story tremendously—yet you also know the movie has only touched on the tip of the iceberg. Much like Gandhi himself, this movie is quiet and humble but honestly, refreshingly, incredibly powerful, and tells you something about human complexity and potential.
It earned its eight Academy Awards and five BAFTA Awards with flying colors.
But more importantly, it leaves you supremely satisfied, expands your horizons and gives you a lot to think and talk about afterward.
And that’s a good movie night.
After all that, if you still need something retro to satisfy your movie appetite until next week, check out my previous recommendations:
Let me know what you think of this week’s recommendation and stay tuned!
Want to stay up-to-date with my articles as I post them? Subscribe by clicking the link near my name at the top of the page!