Movies I’m Weirdly Obsessed With: A Knight’s Tale

Earlier this week, Hillary reviewed Galavant which reminded me how great A Knight’s Tale was. So in all it’s early 2000s glory, I revisit this magnificent celebration of b-list supporting character actors and anachronistic music scores.

I have no idea how the movie happened. I want to sit down with a producer and screenwriter and casting director and everyone else I can get my hands on, and ask them how this all magically came to be. How did this movie that tried to be The Canterbury Tales get so lost that they slapped a teen heartthrob, some comic character actors, and a classic rock soundtrack on it and decided this works? The lines are cheesy and trite. The dialogue waffles between trying to adopt faux-period lingo and also using contemporary English. There is both too much plot and not enough plot.

And I was OBSESSED. First of all, it had Heath Ledger, who I definitely loved throughout middle school and high school because I knew he was better than the rest of the teen heartthrob crowd of the early 2000s (sorry Andrew Keegan, Shane West and co.). I had this movie’s poster on my wall, which looked really good in my pastel colored childhood bedroom. It was also about 3 feet wide by 5 feet tall because it was on sale at FYE. I also most definitely still have it and can tell you where it is in my parents’ house. (It’s now in a poster tube next to my dresser with a Lord of the Rings poster.)

A Knight's Tale movie poster.

Look at this intro:

Are we now drawing parallels to contemporary sports culture using standard arena anthems? Why do those horns sound like electric guitars? WHY ISN’T HEATH RIDING OUT TO JOCK JAMS?

I should also point out that this movie starts out with our hero assuming his lord knight’s role in a joust after the latter has pooped himself to death. That is quality, wholesome entertainment.

Alan Tudyk, Heath Ledger and Mark Addy in A Knight's Tale.
Alan Tudyk, Heath Ledger and Mark Addy are as confused as I am as to how this movie because so beloved by so many people.

If you haven’t seen this movie and don’t want to time travel back to 2002 when it was on USA all the time, here’s the most perfect description of the movie via IMDb:

“After his master dies, a peasant squire, fueled by his desire for food and glory, creates a new identity for himself as a knight.”

I’m most often fueled by food, but that doesn’t really take me to knighthood and adventure. It usually takes me to the corner store for an egg and cheese on a roll.

You can expect fun hijinks set to your dad’s favorite music starring your childhood crushes, so it’s a movie for the whole family.

Training montage!

Naked Chaucer for you literary enthusiasts.

Paul Bettany as naked Chaucer
Paul Bettany as naked Chaucer

Badass lady blacksmith for all your P-Mag loving friends

Laura Fraser as Kate, which was the opposite of her Stevia loving character on Breaking Bad.
Laura Fraser as Kate, who is the opposite of her Stevia loving character on Breaking Bad.

Romantic team building letter writing!

A handsome villain that you shouldn’t root for, but you kind of want to anyway.

Rufus Sewell in A Knight's Tale.
Rufus Sewell is dreamy.

The David Bowie scene.

This song that they apparently rehearsed at some point but forgot to pass it on to Kate.

This sort of product placement/gag about branding and logos.

Women blacksmiths think of the darnedest things
Women blacksmiths think of the darnedest things

This climactic end scene where the director chose to put our hero at a crazy angle..

How am I going to make this the background of my Xanga page when Heath Ledger is upside down? You think I can rotate in MS Paint?
How am I going to make this the background of my Xanga page when Heath Ledger is upside down? Do you think I can rotate in MS Paint?

and make the villain float.

Seriously, he is nowhere near the ground. Why?
Seriously, he is nowhere near the ground. Why?

All this aside, the real stars of this movie are Jocelyn’s costumes which feel like a rough draft of costumes for Attack of the Clones. A subtle Padme, if you will.

Jocelyn’s Best Looks (aka, all of them)

This is the first time we see our romantic interest. I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate her hat situation.
I appreciate her outfit as much as I adore her sassing a priest. (Also surprise Berenice Bejo from The Artist.)
What decade are we going for? Extra in the back is seriously regretting some things.
Where does one get such glamorous sleepwear? Target? Marshalls?
Shannyn Sossamon was a DJ before this movie. Sometimes you can really tell.
Boob window!
Elegant silk gown and 2000s girl group hair for pensive, romantic evenings.
Even from a distance, I know that the hair and the outfit are from opposite ends of the historical timeline.
Nothing says seduction like a boxy cotton tunic.
This dress just reminds me of dollar store Christmas wrapping paper.
Golden gown for being the prize of his heart or something.

This glorified extra who plays the princess (maybe?) to James Purefoy’s prince, may actually win the costume game.

Rich girl swag
Rich girl swag

A Knight’s Tale is now on Netflix Instant so you can watch and try to understand why Kate doesn’t know any of the words to the Ulrich von Lichtenstein chant. Is she drunk? Is she just charmingly confused? Who knows.


By Karishma

Karishma is a twenty-something living in New York City and is trying her hardest to live out every cliche about Millennials. This involves eating her feelings, drowning in debt and mocking infomercials. She likes sociology so much that she has two degrees in it, and is still warding off her parents' questions about a real career.

104 replies on “Movies I’m Weirdly Obsessed With: A Knight’s Tale”

We watched this movie obsessively in college, and coined the term “Paul Bettany Butt” because for some reason, when you watch a movie with Paul Bettany in it, you will see his butt. Also, any butt that looks like Paul Bettany’s from this movie, or is less spectacular than you thought it would be is a “Paul Bettany Butt.” (This is not to say it’s not a nice butt, but we were really expecting to have our socks knocked off and were confused when it was just kind of meh.)

Paul Bettany’s butt is not his best asset. (do you see what I did there????) However, Paul Bettany is so dreamy in real life it’s like shocking. I saw him walking on the street near Washington Square Park when I was drunk and running to late night viewing of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and his handsomeness nearly shocked my friend and I into sobriety.

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