Coronavirus Feelgood Film Festival: A River Runs Through It
PUBLISHED: 20:18 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 20:19 24 March 2020
Banish those feelings of being trapped and isolated with this beautifully shot exploration of nature in all its untamed glory
Feelgood Film Festival: A River Runs Through It; dir: Robert Redford; Starring: Brad Pitt, Craig Sheffer, Emily Lloyd, Tom Skerritt and Brenda Blethyn (1992)
At first sight, a movie about fly-fishing doesn’t immediately set your pulses racing but Robert Redford has created a thoughtful, visually stunning film which marries people to the natural world and makes for a perfect feelgood movie.
Based on a best-selling book by former English professor Norman Maclean, it tells the semi-autobiographical tale of his family. Fly-fishing, it seems, is both a metaphor for life and the one thing that bonded the boys to their father during some turbulent teenage years. For Redford, who is both director and narrator, this film is clearly a labour of love marrying a story of family and relationships with the drama of the great outdoors.
Beautifully shot in the wilds of Montana, the wild, free-flowing river and the mountainous terrain form important characters in the story. As Norman’s preacher father tells his sons, if you can read the river and understand the behaviour of fish then you will be equipped to deal with life.
Although a young Brad Pitt is the above-the-title star, this is a Robert Redford film. Not only does Pitt bare an uncanny resemblance to a young Barefoot in the Park era Redford but Redford himself provides the narration, propelling the story along with choice passages from Maclean’s atmospheric book.
These insights, along with Philippe Rousselot’s stunning cinematography which capture the majesty of landscape in such vivid detail, give the movie a real sense of grounded intimacy. This is a film about all of us and our relationships with our nearest and dearest. It is about growing up. A River Runs Through It may be a gentle film but it’s also a serious film – not in a hit you over the head with a message way, however, it does make you think.