This movie is worth watching for several reasons, however, the best reason is to watch Cate Blanchett in the lead role as Charlotte. Blanchett is filled with power as an actor and is able to convey emotions and ideas wondrously with small and wise miniscule nuances. It is Blanchett that sent the book by Sebastian Faulks to the Director, Gillian Armstrong and got her involved in this project. (Jeremy Brock did the screenplay.)
Blanchett plays a young woman in war torn London during World War II. She falls in love with a young airman and then is recruited to be a spy as she is fluent in French. Once she goes through a rigorous training program, she is parachuted into France to work with the underground there to help distract the German army. The underground is not trying to defeat the Germans directly but rather to upset them enough so that they are forced to divert troops away from the front lines.
While on her mission, she learns that the man she loves is dead and she falls in love with a member of the underground. Yes, the movie is filled with intrigue, with romantic moments, with battles against the Germans---but that is all the shell created to hold what is really important about the movie.
The key values of the movie are:
One, you get to see how a women, when they have the opportunity, can be strong, wise, and brave. In our sexist world, this is a very important message.
Two, the movie is about HOPE! While Charlotte is undergoing training in England, she is tested by a psychiatrist who asks her questions. One of the questions is the following:
“What is the most important: faith, hope, or love?”
Charlotte thinks for a moment and then answers: “Hope.” Remember, this is before she learns that her boyfriend is dead. She is deeply in love with him. But she recognizes that it is “hope” that is more important than either love or faith. Some of you might feel that she should have said “faith”---but I would “hope” that you might reconsider. Without hope, faith is hollow. Without hope, love will not last. It is hope that is most important of the three.
Later in France, Charlotte tries to save two small Jewish boys that she learns to love. Their parents have already been sent off to the concentration camps. She is helping to hide the boys. But, they also are loaded on a train and taken away. At the risk of her own life, she types a letter to them supposedly from their mother and father, and at great risk gets it to them. The letter is designed to give them hope under rather hopeless circumstances. One of my dearest friends in life spent time in a concentration camp during World War II and it was hope, more than anything else, which kept him alive. It was hope that helped him continue to reach out to others and care for them in the darkest moments.
So, as I said, the movie is about hope. And, for most of us, some might say all of us, hope is about children. Hope is about the future. The future is and always will be our children. Life at its most basic is about making sacrifices for our children because we hope they will survive and become the future. Therefore, we are willing to sacrifice everything for our children. To risk our very life for them. And thus it should be.
So, I challenge you. Children are dying by the thousands today. Children are often without hope in this often cold, harsh, and cruel world.
What are you doing to provide hope for children?
What are you doing to save our children?
What risks are you willing to take?