In a breaking story out of Brooklyn, 24-year-old Isadora Pearson has just narrowed the historical setting of the period drama she is watching down to a window of approximately 200 years.
Two to three minutes into watching Master and Commander, friend and attendee of movie night Max Lewis casually asked when the film was set. The innocent question set into a motion an agonizing investigation by Pearson into the historical clues and markers of the film in an attempt to align them with her skeletal understanding of truly any of the world’s history.
“Okay, so let’s think for a second,” says Pearson. “I guess the rational thing is to first determine when it’s not.”
“I’m going to say that this is for sure not set in the Middle Ages,” Pearson continues. “I’m fairly familiar with the Medieval aesthetic because of Robin Hood and some general King Arthur vibe knowledge and I’m not getting any of that.”
Having ruled out the Middle Ages, Pearson continues to carve away at the shapeless block of all history hoping to end up with some identifiable form.
“Alright, so he’s wearing a vest and one of those long jackets with gold buttons,” Pearson reports. “I want to say those jackets feel very Founding Fathers, Revolutionary War-y to me so, I’m gonna go ahead and say that the 18th century is on the table.”
With this big leap Pearson has confirmed that Master and Commander is not necessarily set between 1700 and 1799, but totally could be and she wouldn’t rule them out.
“So they are on a boat which makes the whole film a little placeless,” Pearson argues. “However, Pirates of the Caribbean was also on a boat and when was that set? It’s about pirates and Black Beard is kind of the pirate and I’m really wanting to put him in the late 17th century. Okay, that’s it: latter half of the 17th is now in play.”
While her fellow movie watchers tell Pearson that it’s fine and they can just Google it later or even now if it will make this process stop, Pearson is still keenly searching for the hint that will reveal all.
“Oh shit,” says Pearson. “They just said that Napoleon is winning the war.”
Sweat is dripping down Pearson’s lip and her breathing is shallow as she attempts to make use this very definitive information.
“Napoleon…the war,” says Pearson. “Okay so if it’s Napoleon then this is after the French Revolution which is…and Russell Crowe looks young so this is some of his earlier work which doesn’t mean anything so never mind.”
Panic is clearly setting in as Pearson confronts that she does not know anything.
“Oh, my God. Am I dumb?” Pearson asks.
In this very moment as despair and defeat are setting in, a light bulb goes off for Pearson.
“Wait!” Pearson says. “I watched a clip from Glory in that class I took on the Civil War. This could totally be around but no later than Glory!”
Much to her satisfaction, Pearson has determined that Master and Commander is set between 1650 and 1850ish.
Here’s to the American public school system! Established in, um….when was the printing press made? We think? Never mind.