Good films make life better! A lot better! They heal, they redeem, they nurse and enlighten!
The Shawshank Redemption is one such film with spirits that can redeem anyone witnessing it. Such is the reassurance this tale of freedom and hope offers.
Tracing the lives of prisoners in the grey, stone built Shawshank prison filled with the identically dressed imprisoned, breathing a dull air of durance, this drama ends in the vast blue Pacific bordered by golden sand with winds of freedom raising above it, guiding the waves and souls. This classic offers life lessons that are to be learnt to feel a sense of liberation and abundant love for the essence of life.
Don't Break, Build!
Life brings with it the tempest of storms that hit you and knock you out. Well, we will never know who is to blame! When Andy is convicted falsely of murder and imprisoned, the big-shot banker doesn't entirely collapse stating the loss of his dignity and goodwill in the society. He doesn't break! He builds! He builds bonds.
He fights battles that never existed earlier. He builds a life from the rocks and in them, he discovers escape. He perseveres with a positive will. He sends numerous letters for years and establishes the biggest Prison library. His energy isn't exclusively exploited in the escape. The collateral of it is constructive and cherishable. His goals grow and aren't restricted. He fuels his freedom with the finance he learnt and keeps himself occupied and productive. He even tutors a young prisoner who angrily walks out of the exam, throwing the sheets in the bin. Andy mails the same and is elated to learn that the boy eventually cleared his exams. Andy wouldn't have attained the fortune of feeling the breeze of the Pacific had he spent all his nights, weeping over his bruises.
So, yeah! Never break regardless of what may befall. Rise from every bruise.
Keep calm and Stay Jolly
Andy reinforces what Charles Dickens said: There might be some credit in being jolly. He trades his knowledge of finance to earn beers for his 'co-workers'.When everyone enjoys the drink, he just sits there, smiling, looking at their happy faces, seeing in them the freedom he sought. Regarding this episode, Red rightly says, " I think he did it just to feel normal again, if only for a short while".
Another instance that is pure beauty and bliss is when Andy plays an Italian duet breaching the rules of the prison, from the control room. That moment, he isn't tortured. He sits back, relaxed, head rested in his hands and enjoys the melody with the others. He increases the volume when the warden threatens him to shut the crap. The music feeds in every man of the Shawshank the feel that flapped its wings briskly within Andy- Freedom. A joy that is beauteous and boundless. His sense of jolly is for him and beyond. It is strangely selfish and surprisingly selfless.
What else than being jolly can keep one going when the fights get long and tough! So keep calm and stay jolly. The Salvation lies within.
Realize, don't just regret!
A man errs and sins following which he is consumed in a sense of regret that dangerously mounts itself to self-reproach. The life and struggle of Red guides one on a road towards rehabilitation that isn't merely made of regrets but a sense of realisation. As time drifts, the realisation exceeds all judgement. There is no contentment; no contempt. There remains no damn to give. This lesson in Red's words: "Not a day goes by I don't feel regret..... I look back on myself the way I was... a stupid kid who did that terrible crime, wish I could talk sense to him. Tell him how things are. But I can't. That kid is long gone, this old man is all that is left and I have to live with it".
Hope we all could learn to embrace our younger selves that way sans judgement, accept the way we are now and live with peace.
Get busy living or get busy dying:
Freedom is the foremost virtue the film upholds in all its strength and spirits. Man can choose either of the ways as Andy suggests: to get busy living or to get busy dying. Andy gets busy in building his way towards life and its very essence-freedom. He invests his time and wits in the same for two decades. Brook, the old librarian finds fear in his freedom. He grows so comfortable to the confinement that when he steps out, he is slowly killed. That is how murderous comfort zones can get.
Prior to committing suicide, Brooks carves on the wooden ceiling: Brooks was here. Red later comes to inhibit the same room to post his parole approval. Closer to Brooks' carving, Red adds: So was Red. What distinguishes the destinies of the old men is what they wanted to get busy at dying or living. Brooks died, Red lived. Choose what you want to get busy at! Live a life filled with the fragrance of freedom and be equipped for the endurance it demands.
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of all things:
A treasure one ought to be careful not to lose in the course of life is Hope. The presence of it can achieve what might seem impossible while its absence can lead to an existence - hollow and haunted. Andy's grit, perseverance and calculated moves are all byproducts of his undying hope that no one can imprison. Andy fills it within and feeds the same to his mates. The crushed Red who spent decades in the prison angrily snaps at Andy stating," Hope is a dangerous thing. Drives a man insane. Its got no place here. Better get used to that idea", to which Andy replies, “Like how Brooks did?" , consumed in a calm clarity.
Andy guides Red and us in a quest for the hope which we find buried beneath the rocks. Andy's words then hit us and bring in us a wide smile brought to life by a sense of relief and Hope. In the letter, Andy writes:
"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies."
Never lose hope in hope.
Good films continue to live with us and so will the lessons we learn from their embrace. As Peter Jackson said, "Pain is temporary, film is forever!"
" I hope to make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it had been in my dreams. I hope!"