In memory of the life and work of Sidney Lumet who passed away last week, I decided to make my next video recommendation one of my favorites from his filmography. My reason for selecting this film is, that for me, it brings me back to a wonderful and equally frightening time in my life – my senior year in high school.
The time of my life was wonderful because I was actively partaking in the “rite of passage” of transitioning from being my parents’ daughter and yet, it was daunting and a little frightening because that meant I was taking a major first step into the wider world known as adulthood.
What spoke to me above all else about 12 Angry Men was how the story unfolded and ultimately culminated in the triumph of the human conscience and the defeat of bias, prejudice and preconceptions. The film achieved this in a somewhat realistic and evenhanded way. It showed me in a way that we are all constantly in a battle with the angels of our better selves and that sometimes, they will prevail.
For an 17-18 year old who is about to enter this generally cynical world wishing to retain some level of “goodness” (or even to be able to define what that truly means), this message really spoke to me. Ironically, this film was shown as part of our school’s “religious studies” curriculum; yet in spite of this, I feel like 12 Angry Men strips the notion of morality bare to an essential fundamental coda – in this hectic world, you still can listen to and act on that better part of yourself. A true life lesson indeed.