I believe movies bring us together. They do so not only in the dim lights of the movie theater but also through the heated debates that often occur after a controversial film.
My love affair with film began early and encompasses some of the best memories of my childhood. The one night of the year that my parents allowed me to stay up late was not Christmas or even my birthday but Oscar night. They understood how much it meant to me. When Star Wars came out I saw it and then begged my mother to take me to see it again. During this viewing, however, I explained the entire movie to my mother while we watched it. She said she had more fun listening to me than watching the film. Only a mother would say that.
Movies bring different cultures closer to us and they allow us to live vicariously through others. Where in the same room can you see Shakespeare or relive teenage angst with a group of strangers? It’s that shared experience that makes movies so fabulous. We sit in a darkened room for two hours involving ourselves in the lives of people we’ve never met nor will ever meet. The characters become a part of us for a while. The distinguishing feature about movies that separates it from live theater is that movies are permanent. The same Star Wars I saw and loved as a child is the one I can relive with my son.
Nothing brought this closer to home than a recent viewing of The Wizard of Oz. As a child, I waited every year for the movie to come on TV so I could watch it complete with commercials. Now we can watch it commercial free and anytime we want. This past summer the opportunity to watch the film with my children arose. My 8 year old daughter said she didn’t want to and would prefer to play on the computer. Pulling parental rank, I told her that she had to watch the first twenty minutes. Dutifully, she sat down on the couch with a roll of her eyes and a sigh to presage the upcoming adolescent years. But by the time we got to Oz, she was hooked. When Glenda showed up her eyes were misty. Even my son, the Star Wars loving boy couldn’t tear himself away from the TV. There we were the three of us snuggled up on the couch holding on to each other and walking the yellow brick road with Dorothy as if our lives depended upon it.
After the movie my daughter turned to me and said “oh, wasn’t it great when Dorothy …” From there, she proceeded to recount the entire movie we had just watched. But I smiled and I listened and I enjoyed it as only a mother could do.
Do I believe in the movies? You bet I do.
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