Film: The Princess Bride

"They're kissing again. Do we have to read the kissing parts?"

Another ‘classic’ I’ve been told is a ‘must see’ that I felt like I was never going to get around to. After The Blues Brothers I feel like I’m on a roll now; perhaps I should finally catch up with Jaws next.

The Princess Bride tells a simple tale of a princess set to be married to a king against her will. Her true love goes on a quest to find her and save her from her fate. It’s framed by a grandfather reading the story to his granson from a book.

It’s a send up of your run-of-the-mill fairy tale romance, but one of The Princess Bride’s greatest acheivements is that it never goes far enough to all out mock the genre. Yes, it pokes fun and makes us laugh, but it’s still endearing and earnest enough to keep us rooting for the protagonists. Reiner wrong foots you with his mix of humour and playing it straight.

The performances are on the nose. Robin Wright and Cary Elwes are adorable as the leads and Mandy Patinkin also stands out as Inigo Montoya, a swordfighter out to avenge his father’s death.

However well it’s done, this brand of schmaltz isn’t quite my cup of tea. Also, perhaps I don’t watch enough fantasy films (or read enough books) but I don’t feel like I’m in a position to fully relate to the humour. At times I felt like I was watching someone’s dorky in-joke.

Just like The Blues Brothers I can see what grants this film a place in people’s hearts. It’s quotable, and even for a first time viewer it feels familiar and comfortable. However, also like The Blues Brothers it failed to completely blow me away. Perhaps time will change my opinion.

A stellar film in every way though, and again one I’m glad I finally watched.

Rob Reiner | 1987 | IMDB | Wikipedia