Grantchester Character Review: Leonard Finch

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Grantchester to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

No one wants to be different. We all want to fit in and be accepted. In our time, being different has become the new normal. But it was not so long ago that being different was if not illegal, considered to be immoral. On  Grantchester, Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) is gay. In his world, Britain in the 1950’s, he is essentially illegal. He faces two daunting choices, neither of which are ideal. He can either come out and potentially go to jail. Or, he can stay in the closet and pretend to be someone who he is not.

On the surface, Leonard comes off as the enthusiastic man of the cloth who clings ferociously to the ideals of his profession. But underneath all of that is a man who is struggling to accept who he is. On top of accepting who he is, Leonard is unsure about his attraction to Daniel Marlowe (Oliver Dimsdale).

In an effort to appear “normal”, Leonard asks Hilary Franklin (Emily Bevan) to marry him. She accepts his proposal, but the engagement does not last very long. This results in a botched suicide attempt. After surviving the suicide attempt and found out by Mrs. Chapman (Tessa Peake-Jones), he realized that even in the constricting 1950’s, it was better to be himself than hide who he is.

*I would normally include a clip, but there are none to be found.

To sum it up: In the lens of 2020, no one (well hopefully no one) would blink an eye when encountering a gay character. But, in the lens of the 1950’s, the view of this character is different. He lives in a world that at best denies who he is and at worst, criminalizes who he is. But, in spite of what seems to be insurmountable challenges, Leonard is able to find a way to be himself and fall in love.

Which is why he is a memorable character.


Listen to Samuel L. Jackson and Stay the F**k at Home

As the coronavirus ravages the country, most Americans are heeding the warnings and staying home. But there are still some people who are foolishly risking their lives and the lives of others.

We should all be listening to Samuel L. Jackson and and stay the f**k at home.

Starts at 6:13

Based on Jackson’s reading of the uber-successful parody children’s book, Go the F**k to Sleep (written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortes), this hilarious re-write is both hilariously simple and gets to the point like nothing else.

We should all be staying the f**k at home until this virus recedes from our lives. Those who don’t are more than foolish, they are f**king stupid.

Throwback Thursday-Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)

Love stories come in all shapes and sizes. Though we tend to think of a love story with the typical happy ending, that doesn’t always mean that the couple walks into the sunset together.

The 1957 movie, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison takes place during World War II. Sister Angela (Deborah Kerr) and Corporal Allison (Robert Mitchum) are stranded on an island in the South Pacific. When the Japanese overtake the island, Sister Angela and Corporal Allison take refuge in a cave. Within the small confines of their temporary shelter, they must rely on each other and his military expertise to survive.

What I like about this movie is that it is unconventional for the period. Most films made during this time had the traditional romantic narrative with the traditional Hollywood happy ending. But this film, even with the leads that have electric chemistry, does not end in the traditional manner. Which why I like it.

I recommend it.

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