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Best Movie Relationships Series - Faramir/Denethor

Faramir/Denethor from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Ian Mckellen, Vig go Mortensen, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Miranda Otto, Billy Boyd, Orlando Bloom, Dominic Monaghan, Bernard Hill, David Wenham, John Noble.

Faramir (Wenham) pops up in the second installment of Lord of the Rings as Boromir's gentler, less war-inclined brother who helps Frodo and Sam find the road to Mount Doom. In the third installment, though, he returns to his home city of Gondor as armies are bearing down on the place and faces his father (Noble) who has been driven crazy by the proximity of the evil Mount Doom and grieving over the death of Boromir, the so he loved. Faramir is obviously the unwanted son and Denethor wastes no time telling Faramir about how pathetic and weak he is in comparison to his brother. Faramir remains attached to his father, though, and strives to make him proud. After losing the citadel to the enemy and coming back into the gates of the city, Denethor rebukes him for giving up the small defense so 'easily', even though Faramir and his men were clearly outnumbered and would only have died if they stayed. But Denethor is unreasonable and pushes Faramir to admit that he failed.
Faramir, in a moment that is terrible to watch, realizes what the problem is and why his father is behaving this way. He asks his father, "You wish now that our places had been exchanged... that I had died and Boromir had lived?" and, to the surprise of everyone in the audience, Denethor quietly and honestly responds, "Yes. Yes, I wish that." Faramir is destroyed by the admission and goes out against all common sense to battle the enemy and reclaim the citadel - all to make his father proud. It's a horribly painful relationship, but also very deep and complicated. Denethor obviously harbors some love for his son, and he realizes this when Faramir returns horribly injured. As Denethor tries to burn himself and Faramir alive in a ritual funeral, it becomes obvious that Denethor is insane. A dysfunctional father-son relationships - when acted well and written with enough sensitivity to suggest a host of tangled issues at work - is one of the most fascinating dynamics to watch.

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April 6, 2011 at 4:22 AM

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