0155: How Green Was My Valley (1941)

How Green Was My Valley.jpg

Rating: 6.5/10

This movie asked the question: what happens to a pour, Welsh mining town when the mines close down? Can one family and the town survive?

This first fifteen minutes of this movie has a lot of narration, so much so it feels more like a documentary-style reenactment than an actual film. There’s also a lot of singing in Welsh, or Gaelic, or something, and a lot of scenes where so many people are talking you can’t hear anything. It’s weird. It’s not a documentary, but kind of feels like one, it’s not really a musical but kind of feels like one. I don’t think this mixing of genres really works for this section of the film, as it gets bogged down in narration and songs and maybe this was something really different for its time?

The scene this movie should have started in is about 18 minutes in when the father comes in and starts talking about how the coal mine was closing down. This is when the story actually starts. It feels like a real movie after this, but the beginning is so off putting being nearly 1/6 of the movie’s length and just being completely unnecessary. It comes back like this a lot throughout the film too, and I think, if nothing else, this movie is a good example of why you shouldn’t overuse voice-over narration.

Okay, I’m done complaining about that. This is actually a pretty good movie after the opening. The acting is pretty exceptional and stands out as dramatic and realistic. The message of being Pro-Union while everyone else is screaming against it for being a “socialist movement” might feel a bit dated but, now, it could be seen as a look at how opinions change throughout history.

Why you should watch it before you die: It is a pretty good drama about a family, though much of the opening could probably be cut without any issues to the story. Still, recommended to those who like dramas, or those interested in social and political issues.


+7.5: Pretty good movie overall

-2: Pointless opening

+1: Great acting throughout

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