Review: The Green Knight

What can I say about The Green Knight?

I think interesting is the best word to describe this film. Artistic, atmospheric, and experimental are also good candidates.

Before I go any further, I should note that I wanted to see The Green Knight because I’ve read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight a few times, and I like the story. So, I was curious about the movie. And I have to say that I’m not sure about the direction they took it in.I appreciate the challenges of translating a Medieval story into a modern context. I mean, narrative structures have changed a lot over the past few hundred years, and what made sense to fourteenth century readers doesn’t always make sense to modern ones.

I appreciate that The Green Knight captured some of the feeling of magic and the air of mysticism from the original text. However, I have to say that if I hadn’t read the original text, I would have struggled to follow the movie.

As it is, there was a lot of symbolism and additions to the story that I really just didn’t get. For instance, the movie implies that Gawain’s mother summoned the Green Knight in some way. Why? I don’t get why she would do something that would get her son killed. I was also very confused by the blind woman, the upside down portrait, and the giants. Especially the giants. That interlude was amazingly weird to me.

I was also not a fan of the ending of the film, well the fake ending anyway, the ending where Gawain sees the fake future.

Personally, that part of the movie was a little too out there and experimental for me.

That being said, this was a beautiful movie from a visual standpoint. I mean, it was shot in a way that was absolutely stunning. The imagery was gorgeous.

I was also really intrigued by the chapter of the movie that deals with Saint Winifred. For whatever reason, that storyline really stuck with me and captured my imagination. If the whole movie was like that, I probably would have enjoyed it more.

That being said, I think my favorite part of this whole movie was the fox. But then again, I’m a sucker for anything with animals. I was a little disappointed when the fox abruptly spoke to Gawain and then disappeared. It reminded me a bit of this one time when I dreamed that my roommate’s cat was talking to me. So, that’s a positive thing I guess? My only quibble with the fox is that it looks very CGI. Maybe this is asking too much, but I think they should have used a real fox.

So, all and all, I’m glad that this film exists. It gave me a lot to think about. I watched it a few days ago, and it’s been popping in and out of my mind ever since. However, I didn’t really find it enjoyable in the traditional sense of the word, and I probably won’t be watching it again.

Rating: 7/10

Originally published at on September 1, 2021.

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