Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Road to Fantastic Mr. Fox

I've been wanting to see "Fantastic Mr. Fox" for about a week now. I was going to go see it on Saturday night, but as it was the last night of the Thanksgiving weekend I decided to take advantage of my nearly empty apartment building and stay home.

I'm glad I waited until last night. If I hadn't I would have missed a very sweet sight. A father brought his little girl to the movie. I would say she was no more than three. He brought a cookie with him which she sat on the bench in the lobby and nibbled on while we waited to be seated. He went to the concession stand to get them a soda. He kept asking her if she wanted popcorn, but she was too busy rolling around and jumping to really hear him. Of course, as is typical of children, about five minutes after being seated she wanted popcorn. Her dad was not upset. He got up to go get her some popcorn. Truthfully, he probably wanted the popcorn and her saying "yes" was an excuse to get some. Anyway, she wasn't convinced they could leave their stuff at their seat. Finally she left it and joined her waiting father at the door. The sweetest moment of all was when they came back into the theater. She was carrying the popcorn. He pulled out his cell phone and held it camera style. As soon as the backlight hit her face she smiled up at him as she climbed the stairs with the popcorn. I know nothing about that little family. I don't know if he is a single dad. I don't know if the mom is working and he and his daughter are just having a night out. Who cares. The look on her face was love and trust. She was happy and he seemed genuinely content to be with her. I'm so glad I chose that location and time for the movie. We can all use a smile on our face. It's good for the heart.

Now about the movie. I loved it! I wouldn't say it was a movie for children. Why do parents think because it's animated it must be for kids? Anyway, the important thing is I had a good time. Go see it. Not only does it have a funny, sweet story, it's not Pixar. Nothing against Pixar, but it's nice to see another form of animation that still works. It's stop motion animation. It's old school.

I don't want to give anything away with this film. It's so much more fun to discover it's story on your own.

I do want to say that since coming out to my dad I seem to have picked up even more on father/son stories. "Fantastic Mr. Fox," adapted from the book by Roald Dahl, is no exception. There is a great subplot running through the film about the son trying to get his father's attention. I don't know that I ever tried to get my father's attention. I think I just tried to steer clear of him. I didn't want to do anything to make him ask me questions about my life. I'm not sure that he's ready to ask me any questions now that we've had the talk, but I know that I'm ready to just try and relax and have us be comfortable together.

Okay, so there is another film I saw last week that is all about a father and son. No subplot here. It's the plot all the way. "The Road", based on Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize winning novel has been turned into Oscar bait this season. I read the novel right after it was announced as the 2007 Pulitzer winner for fiction. I cried at the end. I remember being so thankful that no one came to the box office window to purchase tickets during that moment as I was crying. It's hard to see the things that you've been able to conjure in your mind actually realized on screen. Especially when they are difficult images. "The Road" is bleak, gray, and cold. It's post-apocalyptic. It's a father and son's journey together. The father loves his son more than anything and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect him and keep him alive. I won't lie, it's a hard movie to sit through. The world as we know it is over. The saving grace is the father's love for his son. I don't ever want to be in a situation like that with my dad, but I know he loves me and would do whatever necessary to protect me and provide for me.

The two films are completely different. Completely! But a father's love for his son is reflected in both. I've always known, on the surface, that my dad loves me. But recent events have shown me how deep and real that love is.

I'm thankful for my dad and for the beautiful moments I was able to see between a father and son in both films.

My dad was very young when I was born. I'm not sure that his reaction to being in charge of me when I was the above mentioned little girl's age would have been the same reaction that her father had. That's okay. I'm okay. I wish our relationship hadn't taken so long to get started, but hopefully now, with less secrets, we will find joy in each other. I don't need to bond in a deer stand or anything, but I think we'll be okay just the same.