I often watch videos while working out at home, and was recently drawn back to “Secondhand Lions,” one of the few movies that I’ve enjoyed watching multiple times.
The heart of the movie is found in a speech that Hub McCann (Robert Duvall), an aging veteran of many heroic battles in northern Africa, gives to his great nephew, Walter (Haley Joel Osment). It’s a short excerpt from a longer speech that Hub has supposedly given to many young men as he advised them on what every boy needs to know to become a man.
Walter has been lied to his entire life, so he naturally questions what things he can believe, what things are true. In a powerful night time scene, Hub says this (see the clip here):
Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good. That honor, courage and virtue mean everything; that power and money . . . money and power mean nothing. That good always triumphs over evil. And I want you to remember this, that love — true love never dies. Remember that boy . . . remember that. Doesn’t matter if it is true or not, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in.
I don’t think Hub was downplaying the importance of facts and truth, but the factual truth is that some of the most important things in life, including God, are not subject to empirical proof. Sometimes the evidence may even seem to tip the other way, but even then they’re worth believing because they make us better people who are committed to a better world.
In the movie, Walter responds by saying “That was a good speech.” I think so, too — one worth hearing again and again.