Here is a story about love, fate, manipulation, religious zeal, sacrifices and disappointment. Set in the 1800’s, the story of Abner (Max Von Sydow) and Jerusha (Julie Andrews) is one of the best acclaimed novels by author James Michener.
Jerusha loves Rafe (Richard Harris), a sailor who’s been out to sea for too long. His letters to her have been kept hidden away by Jerusha’s uncle, the Reverend Thorn (Torin Thatcher) who disapproves of their relationship. One day, another young man, Abner, a naive young preacher, knocks at Thorn’s door asking to be commissioned as a missionary to the natives in Hawaii. The Reverend seizes the opportunity to introduce Jerusha to Abner and in this way, keeping her away from sailor Rafe.
Jerusha’s life changes dramatically when, heartbroken by Rafe’s apparent silence and indifference, she decides to marry Abner, and embarks with him to Hawaii. Once there, Abner’s dogmatic beliefs clash with the native’s on a constant basis. In one humorous scene not to be missed, he ends up on the ground after the Hawaiian Queen herself, a big woman, whacks him in the face like if he was a spoiled brat.
Jerusha accepts her fate without question until one day Rafe shows up and tells her the truth about all the love letters he had sent her. From then on, this captivating tale engage our emotions as we watch how these characters face their struggles and predicaments.
This 1965 film, directed by George Roy Hill and written from Michener’s novel by Dalton Trumbo and Daniel Taradash will definitely make you think about life and its “mysteries”.
Also see with Max Von Sydow: Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close (2011), Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes (1990), Three Days of the Condor (1975), The Emigrants (1971).