The Monuments Men, a movie based during the events of WWII is a must see Valentine’s movie. It revolves around an allied group passionate about saving art and other items of culture before it could be destroyed by Hitler. Maybe you are scratching your head and wondering, “How could a movie based on a historical piece of war history, be a Valentine movie?” The answer is easy….art is passion, art is love. This movie deals with love for preserving items people created that could never be replicated, it deals with love for our country, it deals with love for family, and it deals with believing in something that involves the greater good for man-kind.
My own personal opinion about art is one of the things that made this movie have such depth and impact. Art is important to save, because art is about emotion. When you gaze upon a painting, you may love it or hate it…if either emotion wells up inside of you, it is art…if you feel nothing, then it is nothing.
The movie opened up flashing a brief scene on Normandy Beach. The sight of it brought tears to my eyes and made me realize the personal sacrifice my father and so many others made for all of us. When my father was alive, he told me many times how he had to quit making friends of the men he served with because it became too painful to watch them die. He told me that when he stormed Normandy Beach, his friend was in front of him and a bullet hit his buddy, killing him and knocking my father to the ground. His comrade falling to the ground and knocking him down is what saved my dad’s life. When I watched that scene in the movie, it became clear to me, that if my dad had been the man in front of his friend taking the bullet I would never have been. I wondered whose life would have been here if I wasn’t and I suddenly understood this movie held importance on so many levels. Now I feel I must live on for my dad’s friend and the child he never had, so that I may have life.
Another very heartfelt moment in this movie dealt with the issue of a person’s thirst for dignity. One of the Monument Men had become an alcoholic. His life consisted of only living from one drink to the next. This man had lost his dignity and was dying while living. When he was called to become a Monument Man, because of some of the skills he possessed, he got his wake up call….life once again had value for him. The man died protecting the great statue, “The Madonna,” by Michael Angelo. As he stood defending this grand sculpture all his dignity returned and his life had meaning. As he laid bleeding and dying he began living again for the first time in a long time. His father sent a letter to his commander thanking him for giving his son his self-worth back. The commander, played by George Clooney, paused a moment, wondering if a mere piece of art was worth his man’s life. At the movie’s end, George Clooney, realized the struggle he had, wondering if he had done this man wrong, was for naught, because a life without dignity, is not a life but a slow death. It was a big price to give this man back his life through dying for something he believed in. But a life without pride is nothing but a slow death.
This movie taught me to not to be satisfied with living a simple life. Living a life without passion or meaning is not living at all. I was born, only because another man lost his life in WWII, how can I do justice by living only a simple life? How can you do justice by only living a simple life? If your talent is to make others feel good about themselves and want to be around you because you lift them up, then do it. If your talent is to paint a masterpiece to live on in history, then clean your paintbrushes and paint. If your talent is to sing or write a song that heals someone in pain, then place your guitar in your hands and start strumming. What are we waiting for when each of us has so much potential inside of us?
The Monuments Men also found vast riches of gold, including the gold teeth pulled from the mouths of the Jews and thrown into barrels. Many of the government officials were more excited about the gold they found than the works of art they saved. Gold can be replaced; the passion of an artist taking brush to canvas and expressing their emotion of a time gone by is a moment of history that can never be reclaimed.
The Monuments Men, boasts an all-star cast including, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, and John Goodman. See the move, make it your Valentine’s Day gift to yourself, and find the passion within you.