Robin Hood’s Hairstyle

Robin Hood: The Rebellion (2018) is one of a number of movies made about the English outlaw. I watched it with interest- would it make the same mistake? When I first watched the more famous Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), I laughed at the prospect of a twelfth-century outlaw having a late 1980s’ mullet. The wardrobe department had lazily given Kevin Costner the latest style, while still claiming the film was an accurate re-telling of the story. The 2018 version makes the same mistake. Robin Hood, played by Ben Freeman, has a classic 2018 messy texture with longer, curled fringe. Some of the female characters also have the latest cuts, and Nottingham’s Sherriff sports a hipster beard to accompany his short hair. He looks like he’s from a Shoreditch coffee shop rather than a medieval midlands county.


“Oh, give over”, I hear less pedantic people object. Real twelfth-century haircuts were pretty dreadful anyway, and probably involved sticking a pudding bowl or basin over the head and cutting around it. Fair enough. Yet there is a reminder here of how we must not read the Bible. Although scriptural truth applies to all places and all times, we must avoid reading through our own cultural lenses. Our culture is appalled that the Bible talks about bonded servants, male-only teachers and heterosexual relationships being the only legitimate conjugal expression. The temptation is to alter, ignore or downplay such things. We might not give the biblical characters and writers twenty-first century bobs and mullets, but we are disappointed they do not seem to share our values. It is our assumptions that must change; it is not for us to impose our fashions on the past or our theology on the Bible.

Is this the Sheriff’s servant, or a Green MP?

Is this the Sheriff or a London-based music critic?