Sunday, April 25, 2010

Great Movie

Last night while we were waiting out the storms (a live feed of the weather on my laptop, sitting in my lap the entire time), we watched Phoebe in Wonderland. It's not new. It has been out a couple of years, but we just watched it off our instant play on Netflix. It was great! Not great in a feel-good way (although it does have some of that), but great in an everyone-should-have-to-see-it way. You know those classes that universities make you take before you can graduate. This movie should be played in one. Even better would be showing it to students entering middle school. It's about a girl who is different. She happens to be different because of a condition she has, but the message would work even for someone who is just quirky. I have always believed that there is no "normal" where people are concerned. Normal is relative to each individual person. Normal is the way your close group (family, friends, etc.) functions. Additionally, everyone has something "crazy" about them. Whether it is a quirk, a bad habit, a mental condition, or issues caused by suffering (such as physical or emotional abuse), EVERYONE is different (or "crazy" or "weird" or whatever words you use). Never discount anyone. Some of the craziest people have also been the most brilliant. I remember once when I was in elementary school and stayed overnight with a friend. The next morning her mother made breakfast which included scrambled eggs. Everyone at the table put ketchup on their eggs and then passed the ketchup to me. I politely said "no thank you," but what I was thinking was, It is so weird that they put ketchup on their eggs. It was normal to them. She would have thought my family was weird if we had scrambled eggs and had no ketchup on the table. There are so many important lessons in this movie. One is accepting people who are different or have difficulty. Another is that you should never assume that you know what is going on with another person. People are very good at hiding things that are embarrassing or different. If someone seems weird, that person might just be quirky, but it could also be the result of something that he/she is going through. Don't add to that burden. Help if you can. Also, it was incredibly moving to watch the mother deny what was going on for so long. It made me cry that the little sister had the clapping, hopping, and twirling memorized and the mother didn't even know how bad it was. It know a mother like this. Nothing is ever wrong in her family. Nothing runs in the family (unless it is something good), not cancer, not hair loss, not depression, nothing. Nothing bad ever happens to anyone, nor does anyone do anything wrong. If something bad does happen, she tries never to tell anyone else in the family. What is worse? Knowing about something bad or sticking your foot in your mouth when you see that person the next time, or, even worse, not knowing your own medical history? This behavior makes me so sad. This mother never has accepted anything (unlike the mother in the movie) and her family has suffered for it. The family gatherings are like several acquaintances, who don't really like each other, being forced to spend a few hours together. Everyone is polite and pretends to have a good time, but no one is close, no one really talks to each other. None of them know each other.
I also have to say that Elle Fanning's performance in this movie is amazing! She is so young, yet she delivers a haunting portrayal of a troubled soul. Needless to say, this is a thought provoking movie that everyone should see and learn from!

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