Moving Pictures™ – A Review of I Know Where I’m Going!

By Terri Catlin

Mingled amidst my Ukrainian, French, English and Irish heritage, there must lie some hidden Scottish blood. At least, that’s one explanation for the familiarity, comfort, longing and joy I feel when I see the harsh and breathtaking scenery of the Hebridean Islands. And why I deeply feel the passion and expressiveness of people speaking Gaelic, singing folk songs and dancing to bag pipes at a local cèilidh. Of course, it could just be that the 1945 UK feature, I Know Where I’m Going!, is a really great film.

Despite its age, this is a timeless tale with a modern message. It is the story of a confident, ambitious, young woman, played by the perfectly cast Dame Wendy Hiller, who knows exactly what she wants in life and is determined to get it. She is climbing to the top and is set to marry her boss, a wealthy oil magnate. He has rented a castle on a remote island in northern Scotland, where the two will be married. Her itinerary for making the journey up from London is, like the rest of her life, meticulously planned, and only a force as great as nature could possibly get in her way. And so it does.

When she arrives in the town where the final leg of her journey is to be made by boat, a terrible storm with gale force winds has ground any vessels from making the short trip to her island destination. There is nothing she can do but wait. It is here that she meets a handsome and dashing Scotsman played so wonderfully by Roger Livesey. This, of course, is where her plans fall apart – and where out lesson begins.

Years ago, I made a list of exactly what I wanted in a mate. I showed it to a friend who was a life coach, and he asked me, “Do you want a man or a relationship?” It made me laugh. And think. It’s important to set goals and have guidelines, but life requires some wiggle room. If you’re looking for love (or success or happiness) you have to be willing to let go of what you think it looks like. Because, like all things worth pursuing and having, love is not convenient, tidy, predictable or controllable. This is the paradox with which our heroine must grapple – how do we  go after our dreams without being disappointed by our fantasies?

It’s a great inquiry into our humanity, in all areas of our lives. In a culture of game plans and strategy sessions, it’s important to also allow for wonder, surprise and serendipity. In the first short film I ever made, I ended my story with a saying I had heard from a friend who visited a South African youth centre. I’ve heard it many times since, in many different contexts, and it still serves to keep me balanced and humbled in the face of my intentions. “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

Michelle Leduc head shot

Terri Catlin is an award-winning actor/writer/director. She and her husband, Alan Catlin, also teach improv to business professionals, teams, couples, and anyone committed to being effective in an unpredictable world.         

I Know Where I’m Going! is available on DVD or can be rented on Amazon.

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