From the top of my head, I can name a handful of my all-time favorite movies. Always on the list is Braveheart (Mel Gibson, 1995).
It’s ironic that I’ve refer to it as one of my all-time favorite movies for almost 16 years now even if I missed some crucial parts of the movie. What was it about the movie that made it to my top list of movies?
I first watched Braveheart in 1995 . I watched it in SM North EDSA as a college student. That was the time when we did not yet have the discipline of getting in the “moviehouse” *before* the movie started. I realize now that there was a 15-minute segment at the start which was crucial in painting the picture of William Wallace – Braveheart, the lead character of the movie.
I always referred to Braveheart as a favorite movie. I thought it was because of the enormity of the battle scenes. I thought it was because I had a huge crush on Braveheart’s wife (played by Catherine McCormack ) who was executed early in the story but who continued on as a presence in Braveheart’s life all the way to the end of the story.
For many years, when I see a DVD sale at the malls, I would ask them if they had a copy of Braveheart. I wanted to watch it again. Only recently did I get hold of the DVD. And, knowing that it was a very long movie, only here in Baguio did I make the time to watch it. And watch it I did with my parents and siblings.
I told my mom that this was one of my all-time favorite movies. She asked me a very simple question: “Why?”. And for a moment, I was stumped. I replied: “I don’t remember”.
I guess I just wanted that to be that until I re-assess my reasons. I wanted to just watch the movie a second time and in full.
“Braveheart” is based on the story of William Wallace, a commoner, warrior and a leader who led battles to free Scotland from a ruthless King. William had a traumatic childhood, being witness to a mass homicide of men, women and children. As his father and brother swore to wage a fight the ruthless king, William heard his father say: “It doesn’t matter that we win. What matters is that we fight.” His father and brother perished in the battle. William, a young orphan, was whisked away by his uncle to learn ow to fight with his mind, with his heart and with his sword.
William came back to his town and was re-acquainted with Murron, a girl connected to him in spirit since childhood. They wed in secret to avoid being harassed by the King’s soldiers. But they were found and Murron was executed as a way to make William come out of hiding.
William came out from the peaceful life and fought the king’s army viciously. With every battle, he gained more and more support from the different tribes of Scotland, but not without disappointments as some of his allies deserted him.
In the end, he was lured into a trap and executed in public at the courtyard of the sickly King. His execution was the completion of his life’s purpose. Until the end, his very being, and the principles that he would symbolize through the legends told of him — all these would outlive his life.
Braveheart in pieces
The first time I watched this film in the movie house, the execution scene was the point where the video went blank and all we can hear was the movie’s audio. We couldn’t tell what was happening except for the conversations we were hearing. We had to fill-in the movie with our minds.
Thus, the first time I watched the film, I missed the first 15 minutes and missed the images of the last 15 minutes. And despite missing out on these crucial scenes, I still considered Braveheart as one of my all time favorite movies.
Watching Braveheart on DVD and in full the other night, I had a chance to re-asses exactly why I was drawn to Braveheart. I loved the movie Braveheart so much, and the reason is summed up in one word: Freedom.
Braveheart was unwavering, un-compromising in his fight for freedom. He knew he wasn’t just fighting for himself, he knew he was fighting for his countrymen. And he knew that it was freedom that mattered most to his countrymen — and it was precisely the hope of freedom that brought together all the brave commoners to fight alongside Braveheart.
Countless times Braveheart was bribed, offered a compromise, dissuaded and discouraged. But he kept headstrong, lifted himself up from the heartbreaks of being abandoned – his wife murdered and allies turning away from him. His bottom-line was crystal clear: Freedom. And, even when faced with death by execution, he knew very clearly how he needed to be in his fight for freedom. Resolute, true to himself, true to his principles, true to his purpose.
It was this character in Braveheart that kept this movie at the top of my list for the past 20 years. Imagine the impact of the movie on my young mind. Despite not catching the critical start and finish of the movie, I considered Braveheart one of my favorite movies.
Bringing it home
What does this movie mean to me now?
What is it that I live for? What is my purpose in life? If I could pursue my purpose with such clarity, unwavering, un-compromising, I feel I would be living my life in utter bliss.
My friend, what is it that YOU live for? What is YOUR purpose in life?
Fortunately for me, I have become aware of my purpose. This clarity of my life purpose is a gift I received with the help of the Heroic Leadership Seminar.
Now, to pursue my life purpose day by day and hour by hour, that is what I am working on.