This post is somewhat of an aside, deviating from my regular format of diary-like entries about my travels. This post is a bit of a rant, a rant about Hollywood and its penchant for historically inaccurate films. This post is about the time my visit to Scotland opened my eyes to the mirage that is "Braveheart".
One of my all-time favorite movies... fictionalized.
In preparation for our trip to Scotland, my husband and I watched the classic and exciting film “Braveheart”, about the Scottish hero William Wallace (see my last post about the Wallace Monument). I love that movie, especially the line, “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” I love Mel Gibson’s portrayal, I love the blue face paint, I love the romance between Wallace and the French princess Isabella, and I really love when that one guy gets an arrow in the butt cheek because he mooned the English for too long.
|Gotta love the face-paint.|
But then I read up on Wallace, both online and at the National Wallace Monument, and became very upset. According to Wikipedia and a few other movie review sites, the film was nearly all fictionalized, rife with historical inaccuracies! Here is a list of just some of the major errors:
Historical Inaccuracy #1:
First and foremost, Wallace was never nicknamed “the brave heart”. That title was reserved for his peer, Robert the Bruce, whom Wallace is credited with influencing. So, technically, the movie title infers that it is really all about Robert the Bruce, not Wallace. Frustrating.
Robert the Bruce - the real "brave heart"?
Historical Inaccuracy #2:
The romance aspect of the movie is totally shot. Wallace, in the film, has an affair with Isabella of France, who is married to Edward the Longshanks’ son, Edward II. I thought the romance was poignant and just a little steamy. In reality, if it had actually happened, it would have been totally sick, because Isabella was only 2 at the time of Wallace’s rebellion. Yuck. And if she'd really had Wallace's child, as is hinted at in the film, she would win the world record for longest gestation followed by live birth, as her son was born 7 years after Wallace was tortured and killed.
No such love story ever existed.
Historical Inaccuracy #3:
When Robert the Bruce heartbreakingly betrays Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk, I thought to myself, “How dare you, Robert the Bruce! How dare you?” And then it took me a very long time to like him again in the movie. In fact, I don’t think I ever truly forgave fictional Robert the Bruce. However, in not-Mel Gibson’s-world, Robert the Bruce wasn’t even present at Falkirk, and never directly betrayed Wallace, although he was very sneaky at playing the political field and working both sides.
Angus Macfayden as Robert the Bruce
Historical Inaccuracy #4:
The costumes weren’t even right, for goodness sake! The Scottish warriors in the movie wore kilts with chunky belts and sashes - a design not introduced to the Scottish highlands until the 16th century.
Great costumes, just a little before their time.
I love this quote from Wikipedia. Sharon Krossa, a historian specializing in Scottish heritage, claims that “The events aren't accurate, the dates aren't accurate, the characters aren't accurate, the names aren't accurate, the clothes aren't accurate—in short, just about nothing is accurate.” (Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braveheart). Oh, Mel Gibson, how you fooled us all!
However, the movie is still really great, and it is inspirational and fun. It did bolster Scottish nationalism, and got me pumped up about my trip. I still love it, and nothing beats an arrow to the butt cheek. Too bad hardly any of it was right!