Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

I Know Where I'm Going (1945)



Reviews and Comments

You won't like this movie if you aren't patient with it. I almost ruined this movie for myself by seeing it in the wrong frame of mind: it's only 91 minutes, so I figured it would be an easy way to fill a short amount of time. But this is the kind of movie that sprawls out beyond its allotted space. Somehow.

The film works because it takes its time getting where it's going. Unlike far too many movies, it's not about the destination -- which I predicted in the first two or three minutes -- but the journey. It's not even about its main characters, really. One of them is annoying, and the other bland; I'm not convinced they would be interesting in any other movie. It's about the wonderful little details of life this movie captures. There's a moment when someone is too overcome with emotion to speak. There's something about why a phone box was built next to a waterfall. There's a bit with a golden eagle. There is the propriety of dining at separate tables, even though the room is empty. I'm speaking vaguely on purpose, for these little moments are the film's great treasures.

It reminds me of the French New Wave films of the early 1960s, which also celebrated the nuances and textures of life, except that I Know Where I'm Going is inextricably rooted in its time and place and culture: the rural islands on the west coast of Scotland. The film is magical in its glorying of the land and the people. The time period -- the latter days of World War II -- is also critical. Although the war itself is scarcely referenced, its threat to personal security and happiness lurks in the background and shapes the mood under which the people live.

Now I've written three paragraphs and not gotten around to mentioning that this is a romantic comedy. It's about a woman who always knows what she wants in life and undertakes a journey to an island in Scotland to join the man she will marry. Perhaps now you are making the same guess I did at the beginning of the film about where it will go. If you are, you'd be right...and so, so wrong.