If you haven’t seen The Shawshank Redemption, what have you been doing?! It came out in 94 and is the highest rated movie on IMDB.
If you have seen it, you’ll know it’s a movie about incarceration, friendship, hope and of course, redemption. Universally recognised themes that resonate with many, making it one of the most beloved movies of all time.
I can’t help but draw comparisons between these themes and the current circumstances enforced by the coronavirus pandemic. Like the film’s protagonist, we’re confined for the indefinite future, relying on (virtual) friendships to provide hope during our quest for redemption.
Yep, there’s no two ways about it, The Shawshank Redemption is your classic case of life imitating art, making it the unofficial movie of 2020, in my opinon.
The movie tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a tall drink of water with no business being on the inside of a prison cell. Despite his clean-cut demeanour, Andy receives a life sentence at Shawshank State Penitentiary after allegedly murdering his wife and her lover.
Life in Shawshank is not kind to Andy. It’s dark, ominous walls test his faith numerous times. He’s bullied, abused and used. First by the cruel social hierarchy and then by the corrupt prison system.
Despite years of struggle, Andy finds pleasure in everyday moments, instilling him with the hope he needs to survive his sentence.
Andy rediscovers beauty in art after booming Mozart’s, ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ over the prison sound system. Peace in normality by swigging beers on a rooftop following a hard day’s work. Relief in education after opening a library and upskilling others. And most importantly, comfort in friendship through his special bond with fellow inmate, Red.
Andy’s story reminds us that there is endless beauty all around us and from this beauty hope is born. Hope that there is something better on the outside, beyond whatever oppression we’re facing.
We’re hardly bound by evil wardens, hardened criminals or corrupt officers but we can certainly learn something from Andy’s unwavering optimism while in isolation.
The Shawshank Redemption is on Netflix now so while we’re stuck in our very own Shawshank, do yourself a favour and give it a watch or if you’re like me, a re-watch for the 30th time — damn year 12 media.