It often happens that movies seem to overlap or collide with each other. All of a sudden, there are two or three movies at the same time about earthquakes, or farm foreclosures, or asteroids hitting the earth, or CGI films about insects. “Antz” came out just before “A Bug’s Life.” It could be copycats. Or it could be just a reflection of some societal zeitgeist. Maybe both.
One of the best movie critics around is Slate’s Dana Stevens, and this week she has an excellent column about the adorable “Enchanted,” pointing out that there is one very un-enchanting element to the movie. She enjoyed the movie and was a fan of Amy Adam’s performance as Giselle.
But there was something that depressed me about “Enchanted,” a grim reality that occasionally peeped through the whimsy like New York City glimpsed from the animated fields of Andalasia. This sinking feeling had little to do with what could be seen as the movie’s retrograde affirmation of true love and happy endings—after all, if you’re going to start complaining about marriage as a plot resolution device, you have to throw out every comedy from Shakespeare on down. No, that intermittent sense of yuckiness sprang from the movie’s solemn celebration of a ritual even more sacred than holy matrimony: shopping.
I was also disappointed by the shopping montage. Couldn’t they have bonded over reading a book together? Cooking something special? Going to a museum or concert or the theater? Playing dress-up?
Of course, “shopping with your mother,” specifically for femininity-enhancing, wallet-reducing princess clothes, is precisely the activity that propels the global Disney empire forward. The scene between Morgan and Giselle in the spa isn’t played for irony; these two are truly bonding over the manicure counter, and Morgan’s mission to save the day via retail proves successful…I couldn’t suppress that yuck factor: Does these little girls’ happily-ever-after consist only in getting Mommy to buy the right dress?
I love to hear from readers, and I welcome questions on everything from what to tell an eight year old who says every other kid in 4th grade gets to go to PG-13 movies, how to find a DVD for a 10-year-old who loves horses, to what to do with a toddler who wants to watch the same move every single day to what to say to a teenager who wants to go to a slasher film. Recently, I’ve had a lot of questions from readers of my reviews asking me to help track down movies they can’t quite remember:
Q: I am looking for the name of a classic from 1961. It is set in the French Riviera childhood friends become lovers, boy wants to leave small town goes to sea comes back to find out his girl has given birth to a baby and his fathers friend marries the girl and raises the child to only have the father die and reunite the biological father and baby. Can you help me!
A: You are thinking of the lovely movie Fanny with Leslie Caron. It is based on a French trilogy and a Broadway musical. This version has some of the music on the soundtrack, but is not a musical.
I was delighted to see my friend Jim Judy and his screenit.com website interviewed by my friend Arch Campbell on the ABC station in Washington, DC. (Be patient — there is a brief commercial before the interview clip.) Jim’s site does a terrific job providing parents with detailed information about every possible category of potential concern. I am a long-time subscriber and I highly recommend it.