Which Movie for Movie Night?

I felt drawn all day to settle in and watch a movie tonight, after everything else on my to do list was crossed off. Amazon Prime has an abundance of films to choose from, and I have a selection across the genres, saved in my Watch List. 

The only problem was, which film would I watch? I couldn’t decide. 

Therefore, I took the decision out of my hands, and let the Divine choose for me. For one who used to fear the seemingly randomness of life, I’ve come to appreciate the deeper truths found in allowing life to unfold, as it will. What used to appear as randomness now offers significance and insight and guidance to me. 

On slips of paper, I wrote down six of my saved movie choices, folded them up, and dropped them into a bucket. This was a fun way to choose a movie for movie night. I let the movie pick me. 

Stirring the folded bits of paper, I closed my eyes and drew out tonight’s film:

I Capture the Castle was the first movie I looked at when I opened the Amazon Prime video app on my phone. Apparently, it was the perfect film to view. 

I Capture the Castle stars Romola Garai, Rose Byrne, Bill Nighy, Tara Fitzgerald, Henry Cavill, Henry Thomas, Joe Sowerbutts and Mark  Blucas. This 2003 British film, based on the novel of the same title by Dodie Smith, was directed by Tim Fywell. The movie is rated R, for brief nudity and sexuality, and has a run time of 1 hour and 53 minutes. 

This was indeed the perfect movie for tonight. Quirky and poignant, the story is told from the perspective of the 17 year old protagonist, Cassandra Mortmain (Garai). Her eccentric, and poor, family has lived for years in a picturesque but run down castle in England. Cassie’s reclusive father (Nighy), a writer with one penned novel that did moderately well, has not been able to produce a sequel. Money is scarce, and then nonexistent as writer’s block imprisons him. 

Cassie’s stepmother Topaz (Fitzgerald) inhabits her own artistic world, her younger brother (Sowerbutts) runs wild and her sister Rose (Byrne) feels as imprisoned within the castle as her father does within his writer’s study. Rose desires to escape her life, preferrably by marrying a wealthy man who will take her far away. 

The cast is rounded out by Stephen (Cavill), who having lived with and worked for the family for years, is simply content to be near Cassandra…and Simon (Thomas) and Neil (Blucas), American brothers who have arrived to claim an inheritance from an English uncle. The castle that the Mortmains occupy belongs now to the brothers. 

As the story unfolds, romance blossoms, but in very mismatched ways. And those who feel caged in, whether by their own choices or not, discover the way to freedom, and the costs. 

I very much enjoyed this randomly selected movie. The eccentricities appealed to me, as the family members expressed their creativities in a variety of unique ways. I adore cleverness, and this movie delivered it in abundance. I especially identified with Cassandra and her father, writers both of them. 

The father’s isolation and writer’s block were born from a deep sense of failure…not in his writing, but in his life. He closed his heart against the pain, and in protecting his heart, he closed to the flow of creativity. One of my favorite quotes from the movie is his:

“What good are words on a page? What good is anything if a man can’t open his heart and let himself out?” 

Powerful words, that I have embraced. What good is anything, if can’t open my heart and let myself out? This has been my journey. This is still my journey…keeping my heart open, refusing to close to protect from pain, and letting myself out. 

I Capture the Castle was a great little film. I loved that it ended, not tidily and happily ever after, but in a way that reflects the messiness and unpredictability of life. Isn’t that how life is…beautiful and messy, amazing and challenging…and isn’t that what allows us to grow?