Scene of the Week: ‘Please Charles, We Need You To Hope Again’
With our newest segment, Scene of the Week, well underway, it is a joy to pick from a wealth of incredible movie scenes which have touched us in some way or another. This week I have picked a scene which captures a character we all know and love, Charles Xavier. The scene I have selected, specifically, is from the X-Men movie, Days of Future Past, where a young Charles Xavier, played by James McAvoy, meets old and experience Professor X, played by Patrick Stewart.
In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Wolverine’s current mind is sent to his younger self in the 70’s, with the task to find a young Xavier and help him find his way again, due to suppressing his powers so that his energy allows him to walk. Charles made this decision due to losing his friends and feeling responsible for doing so, especially Raven aka Mystique. If Wolverine can help a young Charles find his way, he could then help Raven take a different path which will, in turn, prevent the apocalyptic future they see themselves in now.
With Charles’ state of depression being so severe and Logan’s approach to life being rather brash, Logan struggles to get Charles back on track. With time being vital, Logan resorts to another way of getting through to Charles, and that is using his mind as the link between time zones. With future Charles constantly in future Logan’s head, when the young Charles enters it as well, it creates this physic meeting room where both versions of Charles meet, leading us into an incredibly beautiful and unique scene.
As we see young Charles enter this future which Professor X is living in, he automatically believes that his state of depression, this hopelessness, has meaning, that the future he has feared does come true. This is shown as young Charles says to Prof. X “Is this what becomes of us? Erik was right. Humanity does this to us.”, only for Professor X to instantly disagree with him, telling Charles that there is a better path, that “Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn't mean they're lost forever. Sometimes, we all need a little help.”. This opens the doors for Charles to open up to Professor X, explaining to him why he is unable to open his mind, as when he does he is overwhelmed with voices and pain that other people are suffering. McAvoy delivers this incredibly, as you hear his voice tremble with emotions. It instantly makes my hairs stand-up and give me a lump in my throat, as we can clearly see this man who lives to do good, and who is unbelievably powerful, is struggling, which is exactly where Professor X comes in, and what makes him so special. Not his powers of reading people's mind, but aiding people in their journey. To be able to help them in their darkest times and show them the light. Giving people hope. “It's not their pain you're afraid of. It's yours, Charles.” he says to Charles, “And as frightening as it can be, that pain will make you stronger. If you allow yourself to feel it, embrace it. It will make you more powerful than you ever imagined. It's the greatest gift we have: to bear their pain without breaking. And it comes from the most human part of us: hope. Charles, we need you to hope again.” The scene ends here with it being very clear that Professor X got through to Charles.
A scene wouldn’t be a favourite of mine if it didn’t have a great score, with this one having the craftsmanship of John Ottman behind it and the name of the track being Hope (Xavier's Theme). The piece of music captures this scene perfectly. The emotional weight behind the conversation between both Charles’ requires something soft but powerful, exactly like the two of them are. I cannot recommend a track from a a score enough, than I can with this. Enjoy.
This moment sums up everything you need to know about Charles. He’s not perfect, he has tough times, but it’s what drives his power, to be an example for those that need him, especially mutant children. His abilities are just a secondary to what makes him special. I have watched this scene 100 times, and I could watch it 100 times more and still learn something new about Charles due to the incredible amount of depth there is in those 3 minutes. I am not a huge fan of Bryan Singer, but he does come up with some incredible moments, with this one being right a the top of his list.