Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.
The above is the tagline for the film The Shawshank Redemption. I saw this movie when it came out in 1994 and to be honest, it didn’t have a huge impact on me. I was twenty and hadn’t really lived life yet, even though if you told me that at the time I would have argued with you. Last weekend when I sat down to watch it with The Better Half I was asked how I liked it the first time. I shrugged. The Better Half said, “I think you’ll appreciate it more now.” Don’t you just hate it when your partner is always right?
The movie, adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, is a moving story about a man who never gives up hope. Andy Defresne (Tim Robbins), was a successful banker who is sent to prison for murdering his wife and her lover. Andy claims he’s innocent, but the evidence doesn’t look good. He’s sentenced to a life term at the Shawshank State Prison, located in Maine. There he meets Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), another inmate serving a life sentence. Life in prison isn’t easy for Andy. The warden is crooked, the guards are brutal, and some of the inmates are abusive. However, they can’t break Andy’s spirit. Using his financial knowhow he wins over the warden and guards. This offers him protection from ill-treatment. During his time in prison he always maintains his innocence. Is he? And will Shawshank ever break his spirit?
Even though this film didn’t fare too well at the box office, it was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 1994, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Freeman), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound Mixing. In 1995 it became one of the top rented movies of 1995. It took time, but the film garnered fans.
It took years for me to learn to appreciate this movie as well. This time when I watched it, the movie resonated. Since 1994, much has happened in my life. Good and bad. I haven’t been sent to prison, but I’ve had to overcome many hardships that did their best to sap all hope from me. I won’t go into details, but there were times when I almost succumbed and believed that things wouldn’t get better. I almost gave up hope. I didn’t though. I think my own life experiences made me cheer all the more for Andy. Here was a man who had everything against him, and yet he kept his fight alive. It goes to show, that no matter how hard life gets, if you still believe you can make things better, more than likely you can. Happiness lies within. I may have to print out the tagline for this movie and keep it at my desk to remember. “Hope can set you free.”
Up next is Saving Private Ryan.
Also I wanted to mention that Atticus and Miles are featured on Underneath the Shell today. If you get a chance, pop over and say hi.