There have been a few films that talk about hope and optimism with such philosophical depth and endearment as does The Shawshank Redemption.
Despite being a prison movie, there is a strange sense of calm about it.
You might have noted the film's name in one movie list or the other, but honestly, this film is beyond rankings.
Here's why it matters, even today.
Here's what the film is about
Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a young and successful banker lands in the notorious Shawshank state prison after he is awarded two life sentences for murdering his wife and her lover.
In the infamous prison, Andy befriends Ellis 'Red' Redding, an elder prison contraband, in for a life sentence, lends his extraordinary banking acumen to the prison authorities, and volunteers to rebuild the prison library.
Grim times call for humanity more than ever
Grim times have the capacity to swing us to extremes. They could channel our inner humanity, or stimulate our inner darkness.
The day Andy arrives at Shawshank, a fellow inmate is brutally beaten by a prison official. With no doctor around, he dies the next day.
A little bit of compassion could have saved him, and that's precisely what we all crave for right now.
Fear can hold you prisoner
There are two kinds of people in Shawshank.
One kind is represented by Red and Brooks Hatlen, the elderly prison librarian, and other by Andy.
When the librarian is finally paroled after serving 50 years imprisonment, he fails to adjust to world that exists out of prison.
"The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry," he says. He soon hangs himself.
Whereas, hope can set you free
On the other hand, there is Andy.
While just like others, he is a prisoner and he is convicted of murder. But he never quite fits in.
Some birds aren't meant to be caged, Red learns from Andy.
It makes you ponder that in the end, it's only a choice — either you would become Brooks or choose to be Andy.
Hope is dangerous, but perhaps it's all we have
Shawshank has to say a lot about hope and why it's such a grey subject.
After being rejected for parole for 40 years, Red is an institutionalized man. His friends, his talks, his tricks, they're all confined to the walls of Shawshank. For him, hope is a dangerous thing.
But it's only hope that keeps Andy alive in the 19 long years.
What it teaches
In the meantime, we all must hang in there
The thing about Andy is, he hangs in there.
In one beautiful scene, as Andy earns his prison friends a bucketful of icy-cold beer, he sits in a corner with a strange little smile on his face, watching his buddies drink and waiting for better times.
Maybe, for time being, we could use a bit of that.