38. The Sound of Music (1966)

Title: The Sound of Music

Release Date: 2 March, 1965

Oscar Ceremony: 18 April, 1966

Director: Robert Wise

Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer & Eleanor Parker


Nominees: Darling, Doctor Zhivago, Ship of Fools, A Thousand Clowns


“When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.” – Maria

I don’t know how to go about writing a review for a movie as monumental as this one. It’s frankly intimidating. The Sound of Music is more than a classic; it’s the soundtrack to my heart. It warms up my soul. It gets me all choked up from the first moment Julie Andrews appears onscreen. Most importantly, it reminds me that there are beautiful stories in this world and for a moment, it allows me to get lost in its melodies and escape everything else.

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During the last golden years in Austria before the outbreak of WW2, a young woman named Maria (Julie Andrews) tries to conform to life at Nonnberg Abbey in the hopes of becoming a nun. However, the other nuns clearly notice that she’s a bit too free-spirited and lacks discipline. The Reverend Mother believes that letting her spend some time outside the abbey might do her good, so she sends her away to become a governess for the 7 children of a widowed ex-naval officer, Captain von Trapp. Maria goes in with a positive attitude; however, she is shocked when she sees the rigid military discipline the captain imposes on the children. Moreover, just like they did with their 12 previous governesses, the children are determined to run Maria off by playing constant pranks on her. Still, Maria refuses to give up and responds with patience and kindness. Eventually, the children start warming up to her as she becomes the mother they never had. Even Captain von Trapp loosens up. The only problem left is the fact that he’s about to marry Baroness Elsa Schraeder, which means that Maria will probably be out of the picture. As viewers though, we’re naturally not going to accept that.

I’ve watched this film many times but not recently. A few years ago, I got a collectible box set for Christmas that includes little booklets, postcards and a music box to the tune of “My Favorite Things.” I’ve stored it all preciously and now that I’ve moved out, it sits proudly on display on my bookshelf. However, I realized that I hadn’t unwrapped the actual Blu-ray yet. You know what they say, there’s no time like today.

The Sound of Music still from the film

All the songs in this movie are timeless. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, chances are you know “Do-Re-Mi” by heart and never forget your musical notes because of it. Chances are you’ve heard “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and either thought “wow I can’t wait to be that old!” or “oh dear she’s still so young and has so much to learn!” Chances are you’ve looked at your cousin and asked yourself “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” Oh wait no, that’s just me. It’s so easy to poke jokes at her, I can’t help it. Anyways, the other thing that makes it all perfect is the fact that the minute Maria (the nun, not my cousin) opens her mouth and sings, it feels like everything is alright in the world. No wonder the children find refuge in her bed during the thunderstorm.

Speaking of the Von Trapp children, man, can they sing! Also, even if they’re quite awful at the beginning, you can’t help but feel bad for them. You immediately see the innocence in their eyes and remember that their mother is dead and their father treats them like they’re on a military ship. It doesn’t take a genius to know that they need time to be children. They need time to play and sing, and that’s exactly what Maria brings back into their lives.

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Overall, the film is both moving and hilarious. I can’t really think of any valid reason why someone wouldn’t like it, unless they were seriously devoid of sentiment, or maybe a robot. Even if you’re not the type to like musicals, I guarantee you’ll at least smile at this one. Finally, to address the film’s unanswered question “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” I say you don’t. Maria’s not the problem; she’s the solution.

 

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