Bryce Dallas Howard is a muse for me at the moment. She has this ethereal grace and beauty about her that really captures my attention. I’ve watched her films before, but Jurassic World inspired me to revisit her first film, The Village. Of course, I’m in the minority when I say this, but it’s really a beautiful period romance that deserves more of a chance, honestly.
The Village centers around the close knit community of a colonial town set in the 1800s who have basically lived in fear of the vicious creatures dwelling in their woods. Ivy Walker, our heroine played by Ms. Howard, is a spirited young woman who takes on the mission to go through the forbidden woods in search of medicine when her love interest is fatally wounded. When this film released it was marketed as a horror thriller, and I think that’s probably the source of everyone’s discontent when they watch and are dissapointed by the twist. With M. Night Shyamalan anywhere near this, weird twists abound! But I think if you view this as a period romance (if you enjoy period romances), as opposed to a thriller, you might really enjoy this. It put me in mind of the Brontë sisters foreboding supernatural elements.
Ivy Walker is such a beautiful character. She’s strong, funny, and playful, and what grounds all of this is the fact that she is also blind. For the time period, I think it would have been very easy for her to have been depicted sympathetically but, from the beginning you never question her agency as herione of this story. She ‘sees’ the world in vibrant color, which I believe the cinematographer infuses in his gorgeous shots of the surrounding wood, depictions of daily colonial life, and symbollic red’s and yellows that play a huge part with the creatures. I also loved the cadence of the script. It's what I most enjoy (aside from scenic exploration and costumes) about period books and films. It definitely inspired me to get out my book of Emily Dickinson poetry to luxuriate in the beauty of a well formed sentence.
Ivy’s love interest, Lucius, is definitely a quiet soul, but the banter between them is lovely, albeit a bit too short for my taste. I definitely wanted more of them. But there is this one particular scene involving these two, where the creatures have made an appearance, and instead of escaping to the family bunker like everyone else, she rushes to the porch, her hand outstretched waiting to feel his own...to know that he’s safe...I’m in love my friends. The score in this scene...gorgeous.
So I invite you to pause for a moment, and watch The Village. M. Night Shyamalan has done a really good job capturing the beauty of innocence and true courage often cherished in historical time periods. It’s got enough weirdness to be a little unsettling at times as well. And please, once you discover the twist, come back and lets discuss because....yeah.
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