Dear Shekhar –
It is a month and two days since he has past. This is the night of the Academy Awards and he is still very much on my mind. I somehow got linked to your site partly because of my discovery of your movie The Four Feathers which I will come back to. I really resonate with the sentiments expressed by TG in post number 10. I too, an ordinary American middle-aged business woman, have been dumbfounded by how affected I have been by Heath Ledger’s passing. I’m a very practical person, yes with a love of movies, but I’m not at an impressionable age and not prone to movie start infatuation or worship.
So it has been very mysterious and strange to me why I have been so impacted, indeed, actually experiencing grief – my heart, as thousands of others, goes out to his family and loved ones. Every night I have prayed for his soul’s safe journey. To try and understand the why of this grief over a person I have never known, I have gone and watched his movies. I had seen A Knight’s Tale, The Patriot, Monsters Ball and Brokeback Mountain and believed him to be one of the few young actors who was truly on the path to acting greatness. But, I am principally writing this to you to tell you that The Four Feathers was a revelation. I believe it to be my now favorite Ledger movie (and now I have seen all of them except the ones not yet released). It is not a perfect movie (few are) but I think it is an incredibly under valued movie maybe partly due to when it was released post 9/11. I know this might be blasphemy to some but I like this movie more than Lawrence of Arabia. The actors were wonderful. Besides Heath in the starring role — Wes Bentley and the wonderful Djimon Hounsou. After seeing all of Heath Ledger’s roles, what stays in my mind is the pivotal scene in the desert. The first time I saw this film I broke down and cried after this scene. I watched the entire film again a couple of days ago. Watching this scene again, I realized that Ledger was not becoming great, he was great and I am thankful his body of work exists. This scene goes way beyond the organic basic need to survive against all odds to a place that is born from total physical and spiritual anguish. The roar that Heath brings up from somewhere deep, deep down to conquer his assailant is raw primal power and expresses a language of soul that can not be adequately articulated.
Shekhar, you mentioned that you will write more about Heath and I hope you do. I want to read more about Heath not for celebrity sensationalism but to continue to celebrate the greatness of the actor and to celebrate his body of work. So tonight, in the spirit of the movies and awards, I will raise a glass to heaven to Heath and also to you Shekhar and give my own little award to The Four Feathers.
Thank you, Sheri.
Dear Shekhar –