Recently I stumbled across the movie Legends of the Fall, starring Brad Pitt, Aidan Quinn (before anyone was named Aidan), and Anthony Hopkins, released in 1994. It was playing on Bravo, and I was interested to watch a little of it since I hadn't seen it in literally decades. When it came out, I was completely mesmerized by it: the hotness of the three sons, the sprawling ranch they lived on out west, the gorgeous music in the movie, and the idea of love gone awry, and the romantic tragedy of falling in love with the wrong brother.
Well, now I'm way past that star struck teenager, and it looks totally different as an adult.
Sure, the music and settings are the same; Brad is still gorgeous beyond belief; the name Tristan is still as exotic and romantic to me now as it was then; and the period touches are still fun to note.
But, my goodness, it is pretty cheesy.
The funny thing is that Michaela and Jenna happened to wander into the room when I was floating down memory lane watching this movie and they were COMPLETELY TRANSFIXED by it. Completely. Made me DVR it because we had to leave for some reason or another and couldn't watch the last 45 minutes. They loved it.
For those of you who need reminding, it is the story of three brothers, Alfred, Tristan and Samuel, all bonded to each other and their colonel father, and Samuel returns home from college with a fiance played by a radiant Julia Ormond. (Really- you can practically see the soft focus halo all around her. She's gorgeous.) It is clear when Edward and his girl, Susannah, arrive home that she is falling hard for Tristan, and that both he and Alfred have the hots for her. Tristan and Edward go off to fight in WWI, Edward is killed and Tristan blames himself. He returns home from fighting and is crushed in every way, yet does help himself to Susanna. They hook up, Susannah falls madly in love with him, but Tristan clearly has some PTSD issues going on and goes off to find himself. Susannah, who has been staying at the ranch this whole time, stays behind and promises to wait for Tristan to come back. Tristan sends her a letter home saying (very dramatically), "What we had is dead, as I am dead. Marry another." A broken Susannah is again rescued by big brother Alfred, who she marries and settles down with but is unable to have children. Tristan eventually returns, healthy and GORGEOUS, and marries the ranch hand's daughter and immediately has a few kids. Susannah is clearly still in love with Tristan and swoons any time she sees him. I am not terribly familiar with the whole ending as I haven't gotten that far, but you get the gist.
Oh, if I could talk as a grown woman to that Susanna! She seemed like such a heroine when I was a teenager, and now I see her as so weak willed and only gathering worth from who loves her. She basically destroyed the entire family and wreaked havoc on the relationships between the brothers. She was always drawn to the bad boy, the one who got away, and settled, instead of fully moving forward. Get off that ranch! I want to yell at her. Go seek your own dreams! Leave this situation behind! Don't think you can tame this wild boy... you are not what he really wants.
It is so interesting to see how something in the sweeping romance of the movie really strikes a chord with my girls just as it did with me all those years ago. Falling in love. The bonds of family. The heart being broken and fixed again. The pull of wanting what you cannot have. And of course, one thing remains untouched by time: Brad Pitt is super hot. Doesn't matter how old you are.