43. Twelve Angry Men
When my professor first announced that we were watching Twelve Angry Men to analyze how to prove a point, I started worrying. What would the film be about? Would it involve gore or inappropriate language? Why couldn’t we just discuss pathos, logos, and ethos in class? However, from the first minute, this old film grabbed my attention. The depth of conversation and rise of the underdog inspired me to fight for the truth and justice. Although very little (if any) mental illness is addressed in this movie, it is a good reminder not to judge others to quickly and to try to understand their point of view. Plus, it is just a wonderful, thought-provoking film that I wanted to recommend this Media Monday. Note: I am reviewing the 1957 film not the remake which I have heard is decent but not as good.
Synopsis: Twelve men are on a jury to convict a young man from a bad part of town who allegedly shot his father. The judge tells these men that they all need to come to a decision if the boy is guilty or not. The verdict must be unanimous, and the death penalty will be the sentence if he is found guilty. With overwhelming evidence in favor of the crime, all of the men agree to find him guilty. All expect one. Tempers rise, opinions waver, and judgements erode as the single juror attempts to convince the others to reexamine the evidence.
Recovery Pluses: The point of Twelve Angry Men is not so much who is right and who is wrong. Instead, this film challenges the audience to think more deeply about situations before making a swift judgement. Sometimes we are incorrect in our assessments of people. Our prejudices and pasts can cloud wisdom and the ability to think clearly. What we most fear or hate might lead us away from reality and into our own distorted world. All of us slip into this mode of analyzing the world and others around us sometimes.
However, this film gives hope that we can instead choose to look deeper instead of jumping to conclusions. When we do so, people might not be receptive at first. After all, challenging someone’s view of the world is no easy task and will likely cause both of you discomfort and anger. This film does not have the word “angry” in it needlessly. Yet the main character in the movie proves that standing up for the truth instead of judging people immediately will win out in the end. Others will eventually listen to reason (or at least most will). If we take a stand by acting differently and thinking instead of just assuming, we will begin to change those around us and eventually the world.
Cautions: Despite the grim premise of the film, there is little objectionable content. Some smoking is shown, the stabbing is discussed, and one brief swear word is used. The tense atmosphere of the film would probably scare young children, but it is a great family movie overall.
If you like to be challenged and think deeply, then you will enjoy Twelve Angry Men. Every time that I see this film, it makes me appreciate our ability to analyze the world. We so easily judge people based on our own experiences or prejudices. However, we can also choose to look deeper into someone’s character before we make assumptions. This is great movie because it reminds us of that. Plus the acting, script, and plot are wonderful. Truly, this is a classic.
Twelve Angry Men on YouTube
Twelve Angry Men on IMDB
Twelve Angry Men on Rotten Tomatoes