“Chance is a nick name for providence… history is inevitable… made possible by human beings… action and passion, like fate and economics are its essential ingredients”. University Lecturer, Jed Lewis (Richard Jenkins) purports these thought provoking ideas to his students, in the recent release film, “The Company You Keep”, starring Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon and Julie Christie.
‘The Company You Keep’ is a movie rich in rhetoric, intrigue and values.“What are you willing to take a risk for?” A number of threads weave their way through this textured storyline, highlighting the quintessential principal from the onset, that “having children change you!”
The chances we take and the choices we make when we’re young and fancy-free, may be well intended to last forever, but they seem to pale into insignificance to the moral fiber that dawns when a child is born. The hunger to stand up and fight for social justice while wanting more from the world, turns upside down and inside out, replaced with the need to grow up and face the raw truth of how our contributions shape the world for our children.
“I don’t want you to grow up and look back on what I did and feel bad, ever!” says Jim Grant (Redford) to his eleven year-old daughter Isabel.
A rich landscape of perspective is delivered across changing times and circumstances of life. “When I was young I wanted to change the world and then I realized it was people who needed changing. I studied psychology and thought I was going to change myself but I’m too stubborn”, claims Rebecca Osborne (Brit Marling) to the inquisitive reporter Ben Shepard (Shia LeBeouf).
While intent on uncovering the best story, Shepard announces, “it’s not about making friends, it’s about making history” At the height of the chase, Nick Sloan (Redford) provides conscience for the young rookie journalist, “Secrets are a dangerous thing, Ben. We all think we want to know them, but if you’ve kept one to yourself, you come to understand that doing so, you may learn something about someone else, but you also discover something about yourself. I hope you’re ready for that.”
Secrets become harder to keep and harder questions are asked when considering the future in light of the legacy we leave for our children. To walk hand in hand, embracing all that has gone before and forge a new path paved by wisdom, is what propels the character of Nick Sloan on this journey.
Freedom Fighter Mimi Lurie (Julie Christie) remains single-minded in her resolve, “I’ll come clean when the government comes clean. I won’t give myself up to a system I despise; that protects the super rich and super super rich and robs from the poor”. Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) declares to the young reporter, “It doesn’t matter what I say unless I say it someone who’s interested in the truth”.
Movie icons Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon and Julie Christie fill the screen with exquisite richness as they radiate mastery, strength and conviction of character in this captivating, unsettling and all consuming reflection of the complicated world we live in, the complicated choices we make, juxtaposed with the simplicity of life itself.
I have seen movie this twice already and am likely to see it at third time in the very near future!
© Patricia Herreen 2013