Braveheart (1995)

William Wallace is one of the Scottish’s more famous leaders during their Independence struggles back in the 1200s. Mel Gibson starred and directed the movie Braveheart, which focuses on Wallace’s adventures against his day’s powerful English armies. 

Braveheart came out in 1995, many generations and centuries removed from Wallace’s day’s actual events. No one was alive to provide accurate testimony, so the film’s events need to be taken for what they were, entertainment. 

This dramatic film won the best picture award because it is epic. The battle scenes are gory, the emotions are real, and the heartbreak is traumatic. Betrayal, lies, and pride are also reasons this story is so engaging and gripping. It is truly an amazing feat that Gibson starred in all those sequences and stood behind the camera. His vision for the Wallace character and the events he experienced was remarkable. Not only was this guy fighting to avenge his father, brother, wife, and friends who all died at the hands of the English, but he also used this outlet as a rallying cry for Scottish freedom. This performance was inspiring. 

Since I have not seen this film in over two decades, something that disappointed me was that Wallace’s memorable speech about freedom happened to smack dab in the middle of the film. Usually, those kinds of speeches, like this one, are reserved for the final showdown, the final battle between good and evil. When Wallace delivers the speech, it was halfway through the movie, and I was like, wait, what? I vaguely remembered how it ended, which surprised me that this moment wasn’t used to build up the finale. Whether it was good screenwriting or poor story planning, I found the speech to be put in an odd place in the storyline. 

When you look up motivational speeches on YouTube, the Gibson performance usually pops up in the searches. Personally, I have seen a dozen better speeches, although I would be hard-pressed to name that many battle cries. Wallace was made up of two elements: his brain and the knowledge to execute a brilliant plan. The other was heart. He wore his emotions on his blood-covered clothes and never once lost track of his mission. No matter whether you think he was crazy or not, you have to admire his determination. 

Willam Wallace is known for many things and has his own special place in Scotland’s history. Whether Braveheart serves his legacy justice is not really up to me to decide. All I can tell you that Braveheart is one of the best Best Picture winners and deserves three hours of your time. 8/10

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