In surprising ways this was a sad movie. I think adults and children come away with two very different things. Brennan (will be 7 in November) enjoyed it and thought it had a happy ending. I’m not so sure that I saw it as a happy ending, so much as an “opening of the eyes” ending.
The movie left me with the feeling that children see much more than we give them credit for and they have their own special ways of translating the world around them.
It was a lovely movie, although my little guy (2 1/2) was not very interested… it wasn’t his type of movie – something with “race cars” in it. Still, I got to cuddle small guy through it, with him wiggling and investigating the lit stairs next to my seat. It’s so rare that I get to hold him for any length of time that I took every advantage to snuggle him.
The mother’s face at the end, so sad and tired? I could relate. Actually, I think that was one of the key things about this movie that touched me most… I completely related to the mother and how hard she was trying. I also saw a lot of Brennan in the little boy, Max.
I’ve read criticisms of the movie that said the monsters were like a bunch of neurotic middle-aged people. I’d have to say I understand that criticism and it’s not far off, but I think they missed the point of why that was… This was a child’s translation of the world around him and I suspect that this was a fairly accurate way that they would see it. We talk this way. Even children talk this way… the “why did you leave” comments… the “you never listen to me” comments…
I had no trouble imagining Bren having a crew of monsters hanging out with him and him populating their voices with those of the tired, bummed out adults around him. At the same time there were the dirt clods and the fort building – all things that a child would imagine.
I’m tired today and I think I focused on the sad elements more than I would have normally. Under other circumstances I might have seen more joy in the homecoming… but this is what we do. We process things through our own experiences, biases and filters. We find something to relate to. We connect through our own language.
I walked out of the theater with my boys and I felt the tired peace that I get when I’m with them. Bren had some astute observations he made in comparison of the book and the movie. I love the way he lets his mind explore. Aidan was just glad to be stretching his legs and now he’s down for his nap, soft blankie hugging him and he’s making quiet comments to the walls of his room.
I’m heading for a nap myself. I’m glad I have that freedom today. I don’t think I could have made it through another work day like this.
The wind is blowing now, softly, and the pretty sunny day is overcast. It’s perfect nap weather, with the window open and the sounds of the neighborhood drifting in. I’m going to gather my own soft blankie and cuddle up under it. Reading and assignments and the final can wait a little longer.