February 7th is Sir Thomas More’s birth anniversary. To celebrate this amazing man, here’s the review staff member Ron did for A Man for All Seasons, the classic biopic of Sir Thomas More starring Paul Scofield.
Do you believe in something strong enough to give your life for it? If you do, then you have a conviction. If you do not, then your belief is a preference or a convenience. Sir Thomas More was a man of conviction and that conviction is the key dramatic element of this movie.
A Man for All Seasons tells the true story of Sir Thomas More and his death at the hands of King Henry VIII. More was Henry’s trusted adviser and Lord Chancellor of England. When Henry wanted to divorce his wife, Catherine, the Pope refused to grant the divorce. So Henry declared himself Supreme Head of the English Church and required everyone to swear an oath affirming that. Since More’s conviction was that only the Pope could be the head of the church, he refused to take the oath. The movie relates More’s attempts to remain loyal to his king while remaining faithful to his convictions.
Many have wondered what the title of the movie means. It was written about More in 1520 by Robert Whittington, a man who knew him well. Whittington said, “More is a man of an angel’s wit and singular learning. I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness and affability? And, as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes, and sometime of as sad gravity. A man for all seasons.” In today’s language, More was serious when he needed to be, fun-loving at celebrations, and yet always humble and true to himself. He was the “real deal” all the time – in all seasons. It would be a better world if more people were like that.
This is an incredibly well-acted historical drama about a man who sacrificed everything for what he believed. This film won 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.
More than just entertainment, this film will make you think. I cannot recommend it highly enough!