movie of the month: a knight's tale

A Knight’s Tale is my favorite movie of all time. I’ve watched many movies in my life, but none beat this one, with only a few coming close to capturing my love for it. Not all movies need to be cinematography masterpieces written or directed by big names. Are those artsy or blockbuster movies incredible? Absolutely, and I’m not saying that A Knight’s Tale is a masterpiece. It’s just my favorite movie. I know there is a difference. But why do I love this movie so much? I’ll try my best not to rant and gush on about how much I love this movie and actually tell you why I do. 

A Knight’s Tale in Review

The Cast

A Knight’s Tale has some great actors who probably don’t get enough recognition. James Purefoy might not have the best collection of work, but he is always a standout character in everything he plays. Mark Addy is best known for his role as Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones say what you might about the show and how they deviated from the books. He killed his role. You might recognize Alan Tudyk’s name from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He voiced K-2SO, but people with taste know him as Hoban Wash from Firefly.

Paul Bettany might be the second most recognizable name on this list because of his MCU appearances as the Vision, but the crown jewel of this cast is Heath Ledger. A man who needs no introduction, the greatest to ever play the Joker (sorry, Mark Hamill), gave us one of the best modern retellings of a Shakespeare play. Heath Ledger is truly a GOAT. 

But what makes this cast so great isn’t their pedigree or even their acting ability, which is excellent, but their comedic timing. Everyone in this movie is funny, genuinely funny, and not awkward or weird funny. They played their respective parts in the movie perfectly, and the chemistry between them feels real.    

The Clichés  

A Knight’s Tale perfectly balances comedy, drama, and romance. And while the drama and romance are a bit cliche and predictable, they still carry the heart and move the plot along without feeling dragged or rushed. You hope William Thatcher, played by Heath Ledger, can become a knight even though he is only the son of a thatcher. And when the knight who he squires for dies of what I can only assume is dysentery, he pretends to be that knight.

William and friends go on a weird adventure where he falls for the princess and jousts with Edward, the Black Prince of Wales, even though everyone else in the tournament bows out and refuses to hurt royalty. The plot thickens as he and his friends forge papers of nobility and eventually get caught, only to be knighted later on by Prince Edward. And there is the whole storyline of William reuniting with his now blind father after being gone for a decade. It is all cliche and predictable but still heart-warming and fun. 

The Irreverence

The greatest thing about A Knight’s Tale is how it approaches medieval times and men in armor with an almost irreverent hilarity you seldom see. The movie opens with two knights jousting as Queen’s “We Will Rock You” blasts, and the crowd does the famous CLAP CLAP STOMP along to the song. We then get an introduction to the main characters as they huddle around their lord, who literally pooped himself to death. While William and Roland, played by Mark Addy, figure out what to do, Alan Tudyk’s character, Wat, throws a tantrum, kicking the dead knight, and yelling about how hungry he is and how selfish it was for him to die.

A Knight’s Tale has these hilarious scenes set in medieval times with modern twists and turns interwoven. My favorite scene in the movie is when William writes a love letter to the princess he is madly in love with after only talking to her on four separate occasions. But it’s him, Geoffrey Chaucer, played by Paul Bettany, and my favorite character in this movie, Wat, Roland, and their blacksmith, Kate, sitting around helping Will write this letter. They come up with some very beautiful and flowery language to use in the letter, but what makes it peak comedy to me is how reminiscent it feels of sitting around with your boys trying to help your one friend, who is terrible at talking to girls, try to flirt. There are moments of laughter, friendship-based intimacy, and a cliche love letter all wrapped up neatly in one little scene. 

My Favorite Character

If I ever meet Paul Bettany, I wouldn’t care about his role as the Vision or the weird masochistic priest in the Da Vinci Code. No, all I care about is Paul Bettany as Geoffrey Chaucer. He is a silver-tongued menace who loves to gamble, hear his voice, and has the single best line in the movie. “I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.” After being stripped naked for losing a bet. The cleverness of this line is that A Knight’s Tale is based on The Canterbury Tales written by the real Geoffrey Chaucer. So he does get his eternal revenge to some extent. 

Chaucer is the group’s hype man and introduces Will before every tournament. The hype-man introductions are peak comedy, and there might be a video out there somewhere of me doing one of them for a monologue assignment for a drama class I took in school back in the day. He is a wily, witty wisecrack who balances out the lovestruck William, the grumpy Roland, and the always angry Wat. 

I LOVE This Movie

This movie is cheesy and cliche, but it does it well. You won’t catch yourself rolling your eyes or groaning in annoyance from dumb writing. Instead, it’s funny and adventurous. A Knight’s Tale has a bit of something for everyone. And if you don’t like this move, you have horrible taste, and we probably couldn’t be friends. Yeah, it’s a bit old, but it holds up, and who doesn’t want to watch a Heath Ledger movie? And with fall fast approaching and spooky season just around the corner, here are some classic Halloween movie recommendations if you want something more in season.              

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