Thursday, November 13, 2008

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

Director: Robert Mulligan
Written By: Harper Lee (novel), Horton Foote (screenplay)
Starring: Gregory Peck, Robert Duvall, Mary Badham, Phillip Alford


Now, personally, this is one of my all-time favorite movies. Probably because it has a strong father figure, which so many movies and TV shows don't these days. The basics of the plot are these:

In the south, before desegregation and the civil rights movement, a white, widowed lawyer named Atticus Finch (played by Gregory Peck) defends a black man that was unjustly accused of raping a white woman. The story centers around the lawyer and his two young children, Scout (a girl), and Jem (a boy), as well as their summertime neighbor, Dill.

I won't go into details, because I hope you'll watch this movie. It has a lot to say about equality, standing up for what't right, and the power of your parents in setting your moral compass. There's a lot to the movie I won't even touch on, but I have to tell you about my favorite scene.

During the trial, the whites are sitting in the floor-level seating of the courtroom, and everyone else is relegated to the balcony. Scout, Jem, and Dill are also in the balcony, specifically sitting with the local black reverend.

At the end of the trial, Atticus is the last one to leave the floor of the courtroom. As he starts to leave, everyone in the balcony stands. The kids had been sitting on the floor looking through the railing. The reverend says, "Miss Jeannie Louise (Scout's real name). Miss Jeannie Louise, stand up."

"Why?", Scout asks.

"Your father's passin'," is his reply.

That simple exchange encapsulates the black community's feelings about Atticus, and I think for the first time makes Scout realize that her father isn't just her dad, and that he has a greater role outside of their home. I had a similiar realization about my own father and the way he was viewed in my hometown. I'll probably blog about that on my personal blog soon.

Anyway...To Kill A Mockingbird. If you haven't seen it, you should!

No comments: