Sheikh Muhammed: I’m a great admirer of the British for many reasons, but still there are mysteries to me. The rich are frightened of the poor. The poor are frightened of the rich. And even your politicians, they try to sound like the people on the EastEnders. A wonderful program, but still.
Dr. Alfred Jones: Yes, the great British class system.
Sheikh Muhammed: Indeed. But fishermen, I have noticed, they don’t care whether I’m brown or white, rich or poor, wearing robes or waders. All they care about is the fish, the river and the game we play. For fishermen, the only virtues are patience, tolerance and humility. I like this.
I really love this movie. When I first saw it in theaters I was with my mother and afterwards all we wanted to do was eat good chocolate. In recent year, I’ve noticed a tendency in film bloggers to complain about this movie for being nominated for Best Picture. They use it as a way of showing that a “mediocre” film can get nominated for the top prize with a great campaign and/or if it’s backed by the Weinsteins. I think this is a completely unfair and narrow view of the film. I would in no way call this a “mediocre” film, for one. Also, it’s a film that was both critically acclaimed and loved by audiences. Isn’t that the kind of film we always wish the Academy would nominate? You can’t complain about the Academy being too pretentious with one breath and then bash this perfectly lovely film with another. This film was nominated for five Academy Awards – Best Actress Juliette Binoche, Best Supporting Actress Judi Dench, Best Score, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture; it didn’t win a single award. It was up against Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Traffic and winner Gladiator. 2000 was actually one of my favorite years for Best Picture nominees (behind 1997, which is maybe my favorite year) as I love every single film that was nominated for the top prize.
I first saw this film on an airplane on my way back from London in 2000 and I loved it immediately. I didn’t see it again for a few years, but when I finally did watch it again I still loved it as much as I did then. At the time of its release it was up for seven Oscars – Best Score, Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Director, Best Picture and won two: Best Adapted Screenplay John Irving and Best Supporting Actor Michael Caine. Best Picture-wise it was up against The Insider, The Green Mile, The Sixth Sense and winner American Beauty.