A trip to Scotland leads to the discovery of a mysterious hidden town, called Brigadoon, with lovely townsfolk. In Brigadoon, the main protagonist (Tommy) experiences a rare chance at eternal love. Best described as a happy Silent Hill, Brigadoon provides a magical unique take on romance, and perhaps how there just might be a way for two people to remain together forever.
As two lost friends wander through the Scotland highlands, they find a small town unlisted on every map. When they approach the townsfolk, they ask for a place to eat and rest. Yet everyone is focused on avoiding them. Eventually Tommy (Gene Kelly) is assisted by Fiona (Cyd Charisse). And with a glance, the two begin to fall in love and Tommy forgets about his hunger and fatigue. Truly love at first sight.
But Brigadoon harbors a secret magic that puzzles the friends. Fiona refuses to leave the town border, and they also find a book listing the townsfolk birthdays going back some 200 years, So, what happened? Was it a miracle or a curse?
During a time of witches, Brigadoon faced danger. In an attempt to save Brigadoon, the town’s minister asked God to protect them. Yet his request came with the price that he must leave the town he loves forever. And for every night, Brigadoon would see 100 years pass in the outside world. However, should any one of the townsfolk leave, Brigadoon would cease to exist.
This news places friends Tommy and Jeff (Van Johnson) at a crossroads. Jeff is ready to move onto the next town and enjoy modern comforts. Tommy, madly in love, feels an uncontrollable pull towards Fiona. As she brings out the warmth in his heart. While he brings out the love and song within her. Being a good person, Fiona feels compelled to avoid asking Tommy to stay with her forever. Never to see his family and friends again. Which begs the question, is there an appropriate price for true love?
The Fantasy of Brigadoon
Although some view the “miracle” of Brigadoon as a gift it can also be perceived as a curse. The townsfolk did not ask for what has become of them and being forced to never leave can be a burden. Afterall, what if you didn’t find what you wanted within one small town? Could you possibly hold out hope for a better day?
This idea is the foundation of what Brigadoon represents. While many go through a day without a thought, while others contemplate their future. With unfulfilled desires encumbering us when we see ourselves as being incomplete. But what if your biggest desire for eternal love could be fulfilled? Could you sacrifice everything just to be with them forever?
One thing worth stating about love is that it’s a magical belief. A belief that you and someone else will have endless joy with each other. This belief something Tommy and most of the townsfolk share. Tommy’s best friend Jeff does not share this belief though, as his cynicism and jokes towards this magic are demonstrated throughout the story. Which subtlety asks the viewer; do you believe in the magic of love?
Song & Dance in Brigadoon
What separates Brigadoon from most musicals is the natural approach towards music. The characters are akin to songbirds in nature, singing and dancing while swooning one another. With musical numbers enhancing the story and the characters. It’s worth adding that Jeff doesn’t sing, highlighting the characteristic that he doesn’t share his friend’s romantic inclinations.
Whenever Tommy and Fiona are together their story transforms into a sort of songbird ritual. As they swoon, sing, and dance in unison. They become graceful, smile and their faces filled with happiness. During other musical numbers though, the townsfolk join in. As they present a theatrical choir presentation that is impressive and easy to sing along. The type of stuff one could do on a fine and lovely morning!
Romance in Brigadoon
At the heart of Brigadoon’s fantasy is romantic love. The minister and his love for his people. The townsfolk and their love for each other. The romantic love between two people. Not to mention Jeff’s love for himself. Watching each individual’s preferences for love play out onscreen is wonderful, humorous, and endearing. With the contrast between each ideology providing for a highly entertaining experience.
Perhaps the biggest contrast and entertainment can be found between Tommy and Jeff. Jeff is happily the wise cracking bachelor. Meanwhile, Tommy is the kindhearted, hopeless romantic. For Tommy, the life without Fiona is his curse, and life with her his dream. When his love and sorrow sinks deep, he can’t help but wish to be back with Fiona. After leaving Brigadoon, he knows within his heart that it was a mistake to depart.
On return to New York City, Tommy tries to make his old life happen but is unsuccessful, as he longs to be near Fiona once more. Ultimately, he decides to go back to the Scotland highlands one last time to see with his own eyes if Brigadoon still exists. But if Brigadoon can only appear once every 100 years, would the mysterious town appear? If his greatest desire is to be with Fiona, will his wish for love be heard?
The magical answer to this will fill any hopeless romantic’s heart with warmth and delight. Afterall, if you could live forever in a charming town with the person you cherish most, life would be heaven.
Love Always Finds a Way Home
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