Movie Review: A Knight’s Tale


William has one goal. One desire he inherited from his father when he was sent away as a young boy. That is to change his stars. It isn’t easy for him to do though, being the son of a roof thatcher, one of the lowest rungs in the english feudal system. However, when the knight he serves dies from a jousting tournament, he decided to risk his neck and attempt to change his stars… And win the jousting tournament with a fake name, fake papers, and more.

With the unlikely help of his fellow men, a penless (and moneyless) writer, a woman blacksmith, and a noblewoman named Jocelyn. William and his team embark against all odds to prove one doesn’t have to be a knight to be noble, and certainly not a knight to win the joust. William has decided to change his stars. Is it possible to do so though in a society set in bloodlines, titles, and kings?

Things I liked

William is in character a knight in peasant’s clothing. He is loyal and brave. He is willing to stand against the wrongs of the feudal system which enslave millions of common people, even if it costs him his life. He acts not for himself, but for the wishes of his father. That’s what drives him to the extremely dangerous path of competing as a non-exsistent knight “Ulrich von Leichtenstein.” He perseveres in the face of certain failure, and refuses to run from what he believes.

The bond of friendship between a host of unlikely characters make not only for some hilarious moments, but also some fairly deep ones. They sew him clothes, they try to teach him to dance, they pool all their money for the tournament… More importantly though, they are there for William in his most dire times. William’s friends may not be the brightest of the bunch, but they are some of the most loyal I’ve seen in a movie. They go hungry, take hits, and endager themselves, all for the sake of William and the dream of something better. They are painfully honest with William, which makes him grow. They are also protective of him, when he is in trouble.

William enlists the help of a writer who lost everything (including his clothes) to gambling. When he does so again, William shows mercy and saves him from being skinned alive. We see the dangers of gambling and how it can indeed take everything you have, down to the clothes off your back.

Love is portrayed in manner which I found quite surprising. A noblewoman catches William’s eye and he pursues her with all his heart. At first, it looks like a cliche hollywood romance, but then we see it turn into a relationship which isn’t based upon  physical beauty, but upon selfless unconditional love. William loses a tournament for her, instead of winning it for her. She is willing to leave all she has and live with pigs in a hovel in the country in order to help William. The relationship, while flawed biblically (more on that to come) does have redeeming points as well. I liked seeing that relationship grow into something more than just physical attraction.

I will say as well, this movie is funny. I don’t normally laugh at flicks, but this one indeed got me to chuckle more than a few times. The wordplay is fast, witty, and well written. As far as production goes, this comedy is top notch in terms of originality and humour.

Things I didn’t Like

The most disappointing thing about this movie is the amount of crude humor shown and implied/innuendoes of sexual content. The writer is first seen fully nude from the rear (including his derrière . As he has lost all his clothes from gambling, he shamefully has nothing to cover himself with. This is shown in a negative light, but still unnecessary and tactless. Again, a second time, when he loses everything again, same deal. Many crude comments are made about various body parts and functions by William’s friends. He himself says quite a few things about the noblewoman he admires. The Noblewoman wears an outfit which reveals way to much cleavage. She also approaches him in his tent. They kiss and the scene goes to black, but much is implied through that clip.

When The noblewoman gives a kiss to the messenger for William. The messenger gives it to William, promptly spitting on the ground afterwards and being thoroughly grossed out. Indeed, we are too.

Crude language is used throughout the film, mostly variations of the S word. God’s name is never used in vain though, which I appreciated.

Closing Thoughts

Your men love you. If I knew nothing else about you, that would be enough.” ~Prince Edward~

A Knights tale is a rough and tumble comedy which has many high points, but several lows as well. The value in this movie comes from William’s men, and the redemption he has after being caught. (you knew it had to happen. ;) )  William’s drive is about changing his stars to honor his father. He doesn’t really care about riches or castles. He care about the people in his life, and doing what he can to make them happy and successful  even if that pursuit costs him his life. He proves being a true knight isn’t something on paper, but something which is in the heart.

I’ll be honest with you all, I enjoyed this movie for the tale it told of camaraderie and selflessness. It is funny with solid messages on not only standing for what is right, but on what lasting relationships are made of as well. To quote the film however…

You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.

While this tale is packed with great messages, it is also packed with a lot of unnecessary crude and sexual garbage. Because of this junk, A Knight’s Tale falls from being a royal feast, to a moldy loaf of bread. There is nourishment there, but you will have chew through quite a bit of filth to get to it. Add to the list quite a bit of coarse speech and joking… This film, which has a lot of potential, is definitely found wanting of something more… Knightly.

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