A River Still Runs Through It

Written by Anna Husted on  at

Yes. This scene:

I do not fish like that scene, but I fish with fishermen (and women) who fish like that: Head-hunting fish when they surface and riding the rapids to hang on to that fish. I aspire to fish like Brad Pitt's Paul Maclean does in that scene for a number of reasons. Not least of which is for bragging rights to catch a fish that size on the Gallatin, but also for deeper reasons. When I was in middle school and high school I thought A River Runs Through It was boring, but I loved that scene. It was larger than life and filmed basically in my backyard. Robert Redford captures the beauty and integrity of the Gallatin River in his oneiric scene from Norman Maclean's memoir. In Big Sky, when I cannot possibly comprehend a curveball life has thrown me, I go to the Gallatin. I go fishing.

Growing up in Montana is an experience few Montanans can say they've had. Even though A River Runs Through It is set in the early 20th century it reflects how I feel about my childhood and how I experience adulthood. It's the feel and the look and the torment of nature's grasp on my life whether I'm living in the mountains or in the city. Nature can be wild and unpredictable, but it is also a place of serenity, keeping Montanans in constant paradox of all nature has to offer.

A River Runs Through It captures the elegance and peace found in nature, particularly in fishing, through benevolent romanticism. It's also just plain cool that I can go down to the Gallatin River any day and fish near House Rock, exactly where Redford staged his aha moment for his protagonist.

"The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."-Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
-Anna