Marie Claire magazine recently posted a review written by feminist Fehera Bonner of the critically acclaimed movie, “Dunkirk.” The movie dramatizes the real-life stories of hundreds of thousands of British soldiers who were evacuated from France when it was under imminent threat of destruction by the Nazis. The movie extols timeless values such as courage and patriotism.
And yes, since fighting has been the traditional domain of men, it features a good number of men doing manly things like enduring fear while performing heroic feats.
Bonner complained that the movie seemed like an excuse to celebrate manliness, and that it was just so “basic.” This complaint shows how far Hollywood and culture has fallen, that a movie is only special if it advances the liberal agenda, and how timeless and important values are scorned by many elites.
As the liberal freakout after Trump’s Boy Scouts speech showed, liberals want to dominate every question and every facet of a person’s life and they dislike anything that doesn’t repeat their narrative. It’s no surprise that Bonner wishes Nolan’s groundbreaking war movie had been about women or “marginalized groups.” The author complains that movies about those groups are relegated to Oscar season, but since that is only the most prestigious movie award in the country and receives the most media coverage, I don’t see the problem.
In contrast to the idea held by liberals that the patriarchy still dominates society, the virtues required of men are often neglected or even disparaged by authors like Bonner as being “basic.” Most blockbusters are drenched with violence, but it’s usually by super-tough guys whose only moral code is that anger justifies their behavior. According to the blockbuster formula, the typical male hero is supposed to be Agent Bourne tough and able to kill 10 men without breaking a sweat or mussing his hair.
In contrast, Nolan’s movie shows there is greater meaning in the face of violence. The entrapped soldiers are not big, brawny men or super-spies with elite killing skills. They don’t want to fight or be in a war, but they feel a duty to their country. The heroes in “Dunkirk” express their fear, as the fishermen and private citizens with boats tremble at the daunting challenge in front of them, but they push forward and dodge strafing German aircraft and wolf packs of submarines in order to rescue their countrymen. Their heroism is presented in stirring tones without the underlying cynicism in so many movies that suggests patriots are just scoundrels seeking power.
Imperfect but good men doing great things is just the kind of heartwarming story that resonates in Middle America but is scoffed at by liberal elites in publications like Marie Claire. Yes, those activities are often male-centric and the values are old-fashioned. But that doesn’t make them unworthy of a movie. In fact, given the strife in our country, encouraging values like duty and sacrifice, even in male-centric activities like military service, would improve the country and the world.
That’s not a bad takeaway for a popcorn summer blockbuster.
Morgan Deane, an OpsLens contributor, is a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry rifleman who also served in the National Guard as an intelligence analyst. He is the author of the forthcoming book “Decisive Battles in Chinese History,” as well as “Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon.” This OpsLens article is used by permission.
(photo credit, article image: Direitos Urbanos, Flickr)