Dakota Blues and Skyfall!

I was so excited I almost embarrassed myself in the theater, quoting enthusiastically along with M (Judi Dench).

We went to watch Skyfall on Christmas Day, and toward the end of the movie, when M is staring down a parliamentary inquiry committee, she quotes the same passages from Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson as I have in the dedication of my book, Dakota Blues. I was thrilled! I found this poetry when I was in high school, and for some reason, it stuck with me. (I was weird even back then.)

Here it is, the end of the great Ulysses:

“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

I didn’t expect Skyfall to have as a subtext the question of “Am I too old? Am I unable, due to my age?” Both Bond and M grapple with this debilitating question, and they answer it in spectacular fashion. How empowering for those of us who watch for evidence of the courage, wisdom, strength and determination that come with age.

My regular column will appear on Friday, and will be the last of the four in which I share reasons to celebrate your amazing, aging brain! See you in a couple days.


  1. says

    Agree with everyone on the great “old school” nod in this movie! The car, the music, the strategies….Daniel Craig dealing with a hard physical comeback. Wonder if young people seeing this film will get it?!

    • says

      I had the same reaction, wondering how old you had to be to “get it.” My daughter, 39, got it. But she is an “old movie” fan and had seen all the early Bonds.

    • says

      I thought the movie was 25% cartoonish and 75% pretty okay. But it was in the spirit of “husband maintenance,” so I went with a smile on my face. The part about the Ulysses passage was super-exciting for me, though!

    • oldervoter says

      It did have “enough” car chases and explosions to satisfy expectations, but this is truly a 50th anniversary celebration. All of the references to the early Bond films were over-the-top fun . . . Moneypenny, Q, even the “real” car was a star! I’m not a big Bond fan as the franchise has developed over the years, but this was an homage to much earlier days. High tech doesn’t win the day, propane does. And the “aging” stars get real bumps and bruises.

      My husband (to be) and I saw the second Bond film on our first date! That would be 1964.

          • says

            Not always a blessing. Look what I missed. You’re in this cool club I can’t get into. Members look knowingly at the movie and nod to each other, while I sit there, a dense heap.

        • oldervoter says

          Definitely NOT dense. Just “too young”!

          But all the references to the Sean Connery films were fun. And technology the villain, not the hero. Had to love that even if I also love what technology has brought into my life in these past oh-so-many years.

          Like you, I also loved M’s response at the hearing. The Ulysses quote was perfect. And if I had been you, would have surely jumped up with a little fist pump!

    • says

      Hey, Pam, I enjoyed the movie but I have to be honest, it targets the usual 18-35 yr old male demographic. Bring earplugs! It’s also kind of long (almost 2.5 hours); I went to the Ladies’ room at the “subway tunnel chase scene” and didn’t miss anything.

    • says

      Ellen, I do! In one of the latest Bonds, she got the chance to see Daniel Craig naked, and when a reporter asked about “it”, JD smiled and said, “My girl, it’s an absolute monstah.” What a cool thing to say about your coworker!

  2. says

    Loved the movie and all its “retro” references and saving the day by going old school. Smiles. Also love this passage from Ulysses. Great column. Thanks. Susan in TX

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