Matt Hooper is my ideal man
Release date: June 20, 1975
Director: Steven Spielberg
Who should watch this movie: People who hate the ocean and love John Williams.
When should you watch this movie: When you’re fed up with the leadership in your country. When you’re planning a beach vacation.
The sell: It’s such common knowledge that Steven Spielberg makes good movies that at this point it’s almost a cliche, the classic Spielberg epic with all the Oscar-bait fixings. It’s obvious that the man who brought us productions like Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Saving Private Ryan is no stranger to projects of enormous scale and to some extent, Jaws could be included in that line-up. It’s a movie about a monstrous shark patrolling the shallows of a small New England island, terrorizing summer beach-goers and even taking a few lives. On the surface, the story is an epic tale of heroism on the part of those who volunteer to find and kill the beast. And yet, somehow, it is not that at all. Jaws is a much quieter, much more meditative film than its advertisement and reputation imply. In spite of the enormous shark, this movie takes time to explore interiority, trauma, and belonging. The heroic trio around whom the film revolves board their much too small vessel with extensive emotional baggage. Throughout their days long hunt, this baggage comes to light, and is treated with remarkable sensitivity, both by Spielberg and the actors. In truth, nothing about these characters is heroic, but it’s impossible not to be captivated by their vulnerability. Their relationship to one another and to their mission is simply a lens through which each character explores their past and current identities. At the height of these emotional sequences, one forgets entirely about the shark. Yes, there are some iconic sequences of violence and high stakes fishing, but these pale in comparison to three men sitting around a table and singing together into the night. With the help of John William’s iconic score, Jaws manages to exist both as a classic Spielberg epic and as an impossibly subtle rendering of human connection in the face of the unknown.