Seeing and believing
January 15, 2014 § 1 Comment
On Saturday afternoon I took my kids to see ‘Frozen’. I had flu and a bad haircut and the very last thing I felt like was going out in public. But I had promised, and my threats to snore and blow my nose loudly were met with derision and eye-rolling, so I gathered my tattered locks about me, shoved some tissues in my bag, and off we went.
I’m so glad I did. I didn’t take my eyes off that screen the entire time. It was one of those good, old-fashioned Disney movies, but with gutsy, brave, human princesses who kicked ass at every opportunity, and didn’t rely on a man to provide their happy ever after for them. My heart soared with the magnificent songs and I laughed out loud and had a perfectly wonderful time.
At home, as I reflected on the film over a cup of tea, I recalled a trip to the movies many years ago, when my boyfriend and I decided to go and see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade during the university holidays. I remember it vividly because we decided to see it at noon, on the spur of the moment, and as we filed into theatre, so did an alarmingly high number of 10- to 12-year-old boys. Perhaps this wasn’t such a good idea after all. We looked at each other, aghast, but we’d paid for our tickets, and we were students, so we weren’t going to waste that money.
As it turned out it was an absolute blast. Not just because Indiana Jones movies are action-packed, thrill-a-minute films, but because of the way the kids responded. They laughed uproariously at every lame joke, guffawed at every slapstick moment, cheered when Indiana triumphed, hooted at the baddies and generally managed to suspend their disbelief in a way that so many of us seem to have forgotten how to do. And it was completely and utterly infectious. Within minutes we were hooting, cheering and guffawing along with them. It was 20-odd years ago and I still remember it as if it were yesterday.
Be honest – when last did you get through a movie without once thinking, “Ooh, that CGI wasn’t very good,” or “Hmm, bit of a continuity problem there,” or something along those lines? How often do you sneak a peek at your phone? Kids don’t do that. Unless it’s a really terrible movie (or they need a wee) the lights dim and the sound swells, and they’re lost. They are one with the story.
And there’s something very revitalising about watching a movie in that state of utter absorption. When you’ve had a good laugh at complete nonsense, or a quiet weep at a tender moment, and lost yourself in a story for a couple of hours, somehow you emerge from the movie theatre’s womb-like interior feeling a fraction reborn.
My friend, Natalie, said the other day that she couldn’t remember when last she’d had a good belly laugh, and that made me terribly sad. But I know no better way than to allow yourself to be a child again. And an excellent way to do that is to take a child to see a movie they want to see – not the one your friends are all watching, or that one the art critic recommended that will make you feel erudite and smug at next week’s dinner party.
No. Go and see something slapstick, something animated, something that’s family-rated and all-round good, clean fun. And if you don’t have kids of your own, borrow one or two for the afternoon from a friend or family member who needs a break. And then, buy all the junk food you fancy, put your phone away and suspend that disbelief. Get stuck in. Believe.
Go on. It’ll do you the world of good.