I remember the first time I saw The Silence of the Lambs in the theater. I was seventeen and I was visiting my best friend in California. Four years earlier I had moved from California to Colorado. Each year I would make a trip home to hang out. The two of us sat in the back of the theater. I had a jacket with me—turned out to be a good thing since I kept hiding my face behind it. This movie scared the heck out of me. Normally I don’t like being scared, but I loved this movie. Since that first time, I’ve seen it many times. Yet, when it came time to watch it for my challenge I was hesitant. Would I still like it? I knew the story inside and out and I wondered if I would find it boring—old news. I was wrong. Dead wrong. As soon as the movie started, I was hooked again.
Here’s a quick rundown of the flick. Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is a trainee in the FBI. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) is head of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science Unit. Crawford sends Starling to interview a prisoner named Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a former psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer. Crawford hopes that Lecter will have some idea about the identity of “Buffalo Bill” (Ted Levine), a serial killer who removes the skin from his victims before getting rid of the bodies. Crawford doesn’t tell Starling that’s his goal, but Lecter is one smart cookie and figures it out. You have to see the movie to believe what happens next.
This movie was the third movie to win the top five categories at the Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actress (Foster), Best Actor (Hopkins), Best Director (Jonathan Demme), and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay). This is the first horror film to win for Best Picture.
If you haven’t seen this movie, and if you can stomach a movie about serial killers, please watch it. Foster, Hopkins, and Levine are amazing. Even though Hopkins isn’t in the movie that much, he made such an impression on me that I became an instant fan. I had nightmares for weeks that Hannibal was coming over for dinner and I was the main course. I still won’t keep Chianti in the house and to my knowledge I’ve never eaten fava beans.
Up next is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.