When Movies Say It Best: “The Shawshank Redemption”

Welcome to week one, blog post one for my newest category “When Movies Say It Best”. I have always been an avid movie watcher and movies have been my main means of escaping. They have brought me joy and pain throughout the years, often times the most memorable quotes for me come from the saddest of movies. Every Friday I will be posting a single quote from a movie and explaining just why it means so much to me. Please come with me on this journey as I remember all the movies that have shaped my life and the quotes that still inspire, invoke thought or simply provide pleasure for me.

My favorite quote to date comes from the ever famous and beloved movie “The Shawshank Redemption” from the lead character Andy.

Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

I remember hearing about this movie and the first time I saw this movie. My mother is a fan of Stephen King yet I did not know that he was the author of this novella the movie was based on. After watching the movie, I was more than a bit surprised that this was a King novella. I remember when I heard about this movie, I was in 8th grade. The summer of my 8th grade year I decided that there were many classic or cult favorite movies and novels I heard about but had little first hand knowledge. Some of these movies were inappropriate for younger audiences, which is why I had yet to see or read them, but now I was able to see and read such things. That summer I decided to work my way through some of these movies and books and this movie happened to be on that list.

There are many quotes from this movie that leave a lasting impression, not to mention the movie in its entirety. Not to add spoilers for movie or novella, but part of what surprised me about this being a King piece, was that it ended “happy”. After reading the novella, I realized Hollywood had changed the ending, but for the movie it worked. I think the movie got the ending it deserved.

There are few movies that have quotes that stay with you quite like the one. Many movies that matter to me are often the ones that boil down to the relationship between the main characters. The stories that focus on the importance of relationships and how much they can impact not only your life but those of others. This movie basically boils down to the relationship between Red and Andy. Andy, spoiler here, is an innocent man behind bars and suffers horribly while there but finds a connection that helps get him through. His life not only inspires him to keep going but those he is closest too, namely Red.

There are very few of us who ever get the chance to experience such a friendship as these two on screen, let alone while we are going through the worst experience of our lives. This quote is my favorite quote of all time from movies. I use this often in my daily life. There are many different quotes about hope and even those that seem to discount it talking about hope being dangerous. I personally believe that “hope is the best of things” and often times, especially when we are in our darkest hour, hope is the only thing we have left. Emotions don’t run our lives, but hope is not only an emotion it is an idea. The idea of something better, the idea of something greater. This movie speaks to that, in everything it does.

This movie isn’t all hopeful by any means, but just because sometimes things end sadly doesn’t mean that hope can’t be found. Hope does not make any promises nor does it offer any guarantees. Often times we hope for the best and things end up worse or still don’t turn out how we want them. Sometimes we get the chance to escape and walk down a beach to our destiny and future, but sometimes it ends without the storybook conclusion. In the novella, the ending is just that, it ends on the idea of hope. Red has gotten out, but he does not know what to expect. He hopes that he will find his friend, but there is no guarantee he will.

Sometimes all  you can do is hope and even if the outcome does not give you the end you want, maybe you can find something in the journey. I do believe there is something hopeful in every situation, life ends, but time still moves on. We lose a job, a parent, a loved one, a best friend, no matter time moves on. Nothing can replace what was lost, but you are still here and hopefully you will continue to love. “No good thing ever dies,” the hope for a better tomorrow lives on despite loss and disappointment and that hope never dies.

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