#214: Fanny and Alexander (1982)

When and how did I watch this?

October 6th and 7th, 2015, on Hulu Plus.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

Looking forward to another foreign film.  We planned ahead and split it in half due to length (over three hours).

What do I know about it now?

I don’t know where to start — it’s a lot of content.  The movie revolves around several characters, primarily the boy Alexander and his mother.  Alexander’s husband dies, and all sorts of crazy stuff begins to occur.  Alexander frequently sees his father’s ghost lingering around, first in his own house, and then in his new abusive stepfather’s habitation, which resembles a prison. Alexander is forced to reconcile with death, and his mother, remarried in her haste and weakness, is determined to escape the marriage, and eventually employs her own family to help. Several haunting scenes and profound monologues stirred me up throughout this film.  There are endless takeaways. In the end, we’re reminded that there are endearing qualities to staying in your “little world” and admiring what God has laid out before you, despite the tumult; it’s truly never as bad as it seems.

What are some themes in the film?

Death and afterlife, contentment, marriage, God, morality, courage, revenge, love and hate, propriety (or lack thereof, at times), imagination, reconciliation

Did this affect me personally?

There were moments too numerous to count, but a few affected me profoundly, namely when Alexander sees the ghost of his father for the last time, and in a sequence when Alexander is beaten severely by the priest, and the dialogue that occurs therein.

Why is this ranked #214?

It’s a stunning film and an instant classic, for those who endure it.  The acting is superb, and several cinematic moments cause chills in the viewer’s bones; later, our whole souls are moved by the peril and eventual catharsis.

Did my wife watch/like it?

Yes.  In her words, it’s a curious film.

Would I watch it again?

Nah.  It’s a tough watch, but it’s worth the trip.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Yes — it’s interesting how many foreign films are on this list, and how many are worthy of recommendation.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Though based on a book (as many films are), it’s as if the story was meant to be told in a cinematic manner. It exceeds the quality of most films I’ve seen, so yes, this one is par excellence.

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