Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Legends of the Fall

Legends of the Fall
Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Brad Pitt, Henry Thomas and Julia Ormond

Rated: R 
Reviewed by: Linda  
Release date: December 16, 1994 Released by: Columbia TriStar

Legends of the Fall, directed by Ed Zwick, tells the story of the Ludlow family, a close-knit group headed by the father (Anthony Hopkins) and his three sons, Alfred (Aidan Quinn), Tristan (Brad Pitt), and Samuel (Henry Thomas). The boys' father has an ongoing correspondence with the boys' mother, who has left their home in rural upstate Montana in favor of the more cultural environment of the city of Helena.

It is the character of Tristan who will most move you. He is a gorgeous, playful soul who, on the surface, seems destined to make a lighthearted romp through life. As the film evolves, however, he emerges as a troubled character who pursues a difficult path to exorcise his life-threatening demons.

Julia Ormond, a relative newcomer, is excellent in the role of Susannah, the woman Samuel intends to marry. When he arrives home from college with her, her beauty and warmth captivate the whole family. It is their shared attraction for Susannah, painful service in World War I and differing political ideals that, combined, build a rift between the brothers. Ultimately love is restored but only after great losses and tragedy hit the family.

The film made a number of strong statements. A firm familial bond is always present in lineages who grow up relying upon one another and share a strong devotion to their parents. The Ludlow brothers clearly seek their father's love in this process. Tristan is most successful in this endeavor, not by appeasing his father or submissively agreeing with his viewpoints, but by making his own journey through life and becoming, over time, at peace with himself as well as the past he has shared with his family.

In addition, the film explores the consequences of settling for a marriage based primarily on security rather than on love. In her loneliness, Susannah chooses a life partner who offered companionship and security and forfeited the fulfillment that she could have experienced.

Hopkins shows his talents once again in his portrayal of the Ludlow patriarch. It was easy to understand the respect and esteem his sons had for him. Hopkins exudes decency, compassion and depth -- qualities which attract and draw forth what is purest and best in his sons.

  Frank Chris Linda  Avg. 
Legends of the Fall        B+   B+ 

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