OK, here’s how this went down: It was late, and with St. Patrick’s Day this week, I really wanted to find a good Sunday movie that related to Ireland. I combed a list of possible candidates and realized this was the only one instantly accessible to me on Netflix.
Then I learned Into the West was about two small gypsy boys running away on a magical white horse and I thought, “Yeah…I don’t know about this.” I have a tolerance for corny movies that is higher than most, but even I had to cringe a little as I half-heartedly hit the play button.
But I actually quite liked it. YOU HEAR ME, WORLD? I LIKED THIS MOVIE FROM THE EARLY ‘90S ABOUT TWO LITTLE IRISH BOYS ON A MAGICAL HORSE. There, I said it.
Into the West features Gabriel Byrne (Little Women) and David Kelly, who will always hold a soft but slightly awkward spot in my heart for riding a motorcycle in the nude in Waking Ned Devine.
It also stars two adorable little boys who are actually about my age now…and all of a sudden I feel weird calling them adorable.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: If you are under the age of 10 in Ireland, be careful what animals you steal, or the government will deploy armies of policeman, helicopters, and attack dogs until you are brought to justice.
(And as long as we’re using this movie as a substitute for an Encyclopedia entry on Ireland, you should also know that when the police come to arrest you, they don’t use handcuffs because they have giant people-nets.)
When Roger Ebert reviewed this film, he concluded by saying, “Kids will probably love this movie, but adults will get a lot more out of it” — and I agree.
Maybe I was suckered into liking this movie because I have two boys of my own, but to me, it was really about a father who had grown distant to the traditions of his family and—more tragically—to his own children.
I like how Gabriel Byrne, who plays this father, described him: “He’s brutalized and beaten by life, but he still has within him a great dignity, and a love for his children as well. And it’s this love for his kids that, in the end, is his redemption.”
How true that is for all parents. Our love for our children is our redemption. There is something about learning to love a child (amidst all the stress of raising it) that refines us and lifts us to a higher, more selfless altitude of living that saves us from ourselves in the end.
Go give your kids an extra hug today. (Or better yet, watch this movie with them.)
“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” — Colossians 3:21