The Green Knight is the perfect re-imaging of this particular part of the Arthurian legend. It is dark, but not without hope. It presents honor & chivalry, but not without flexibility. It presents Gawain as, perhaps, the perfect Millennial knight.
In this version, Gawain (Dev Patel) begins the story not knighted and is instead able to take part in King Arthur’s Christmas feast because his mother, Morgan Le Fay, elects not to intend and sends him in her place – leaving him feeling a tremendous sense of impostor syndrome surrounded by his uncle, Arthur, and all these legends.
Consequently, when the titular Green Knight comes in and issues his challenge, Gawain does the thing so many people with impostor syndrome do – he over-compensates and bites off more than he can chew. Specifically, when all he really had to do was nick his face, he instead lopped the Green Knight’s head clean off. The problem is that the person giving the blow gets an equivalent blow one year hence.
This leads, in turn, to where the other part that makes Gawain the perfect Millennial knight – his inexperience – but not incompetence. As a Millennial, though one of the geriatric variety, so many of my experiences have felt related to a sense of unpreparedness. No matter what I do, I never really feel ready. I’m always winging it or otherwise making things up as I go along – which ties into the impostor syndrome. Similarly, Gawain is always running into situations that, having never gone on a quest of this nature before, he’s mostly unprepared for.
It makes for a presentation of this story that truly resonated with me and hopefully will resonate well with my peers.
Also, it does bear mentioning, that this film is absolutely gorgeous. I was unable to go to see it in theaters due to the pandemic, but I was able to watch it in 4K, and if you have the option to see it in 4K yourself, I would say that this is the optimal way to see it.
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