7 Lessons from 47 Ronin

Writing film and book reviews is just one of the many things I’m not good at. While I enjoy watching movies and reading as many books as I can, I can’t even begin to understand just how prolific critics churn out interesting and insightful reviews.

47 Ronin is another case in point for me. I learned about the film early last year through a friend who’s into swords and sword training. I immediately fell in love with the trailer. As a Japanophile and anything-Samurai fangirl, the movie strongly appealed to me.

So it was a bit of a letdown when I came across a review weeks before the movie was to hit local theaters. I opted not to read the entire article after seeing the first two lines since I already knew what the critic had to say. It basically summed it up to the movie being a mess. This was why I didn’t have much hope about it although I was determined to watch it no matter how bad it turns out to be. Because Japan. And Samurai. And Keanu.

The lack of expectation (of the positive kind) is probably one of the reasons why I was happy with the movie. It has its flaws, which I can’t really expound on seeing that I don’t have the makings of a good critic. All I can say is that I was deeply into it that I mined some lessons worth learning (and relearning) – in no particular order:

  • Honor – A person who lives with honor doesn’t allow fear to get in the way of doing what needs to be done.
  • Loyalty – The depth of loyalty honorable men can give knows no bounds. But it is earned not with big words but through acts that sometimes hardly create ripples at the onset. And once loyalty takes root, it flourishes even in the absence of the person that inspired it.
  • Courage – True courage is not about the confidence of having the skills to fight. It’s about moving forward despite the distinct possibility of failing. It’s like willingly going into a fight with one foot hovering near the edge of the deepest pit of immeasurable loss or grief.
  • Love – Maybe a good question to ask anyone would be, “Can you love someone deeply and unconditionally even if there’s no slightest chance of being with that person?”. Perhaps those who can do that are among the few who truly understand what love can be.
  • Patience – As what’s been often said, all things happen in their own time. Even justice sometimes have to wait before it can be extracted. To suffer injustice with patience is never easy. A patient man knows how to wait despite the turmoil such waiting gives.
  • Will – An indomitable will is one of the most powerful weapons a person can have. But it has to be cultivated. Once wielded, it can spur a man to do great deeds and perhaps repeatedly surprise even himself.
  • Acceptance – The Samurai’s stoic acceptance of their fate can be a bitter pill to swallow if you love happy endings. But their brand of acceptance teaches me one thing – that the ability to accept what life gives, even the prospect of death, makes it easier to let go of attachments and thus move on more easily to what awaits next.
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