The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

A farewell to childhood with Enchanted

with 28 comments


It was the last night before the unavoidable break-up of our family. The last night before one of us would take off and check out the world on the other side of the sewer lid.

My 19 year old daughter had decided that it was time to head out in the world to find out more about life, the universe and everything and where she came into the equation. The ticket to London was one-way. She was perfectly confident that she’d find a job and somewhere to live within a week or two, before she ran out of money. “I’ll just print my CV and walk into shops and restaurants and ask for a job.” I carefully hid my doubts about how successful this method would be, not to discourage her. The attitude to was admirable, and what do I know about job seeking in London anyway?

As a parent I had imagined that the last few weeks at home would be family oriented, that she’d want to spend as much time with us as possible now that she’d be away for such a long time. This was of course a delusion. Our daughter didn’t need more time to slowly entangle herself from our grip. That process was already completed and had begun years ago. Instead she spent night after night with her friends in a never-ending farewell party as they one after one took off in different directions for studies, travel and job all over the world.

Picking a family movie
Now we had finally reached the point where all goodbyes had been said and all bags have been packed. She had gracefully accepted to spend a few hours with her family and we agreed to watch a movie together.

To pick a movie for the entire family is usually a daunting task. I could still recall endless discussions we used to have, which always ended up in a compromise that made everyone equally unhappy. (This is one of the reasons why we don’t watch a lot of movies together these days. We just can’t agree about anything, apart from Woody Allen, which everyone loves for some reason.)

But tonight was special. At the same time we were more fragile and fonder of each other than usual and had no difficulties to come to an agreement. The choice fell on Enchanted.

Adorable Amy Adams
I remembered last time we’d seen it together. How could I possibly forget? It was in a theatre at Times Square in New York city, a place that also appears in the movie. A magical night. An enchanted night, if I may say so.

That was in a different time, when our daughters still were in their early teens, with all the fairy tales in fresh memory. Of course they loved the story about the princess who takes the leap into our world!  The question was if they still could enjoy it at this point, both around their 20s.  Would it hold up to what I remembered it to be: a lighthearted, sparkling family movie with a charming mix of romantic comedy, animation and musical?

The answer was YES. You don’t need to have a young child accompanying you to get enthusiastic about Enchanted. It suffice that you’re young at heart for the spell to work.

Amy Adams is still THAT adorable. The chipmunk too. And scene where she takes help of cockroaches and rats for the cleaning was even better than I remembered. I think I’m a sucker for old-fashioned Hollywood choreography.

Lessons from Enchanted
So what words of wisdom can my daughter bring from Enchanted? Is there more to it than pure entertainment?

“The first week will be rough”, my daughter said when I left her at the airport and I gave her right. Like a drunkard tricked Giselle of a tiara right as she arrived at New York, she will run into people who don’t want her best. I trust her to be smart enough to recognize them.

Even so her life will no doubt be chaotic for a while. Looking for a job and a place to live is very different from being a regular tourist. I hope that in the midst of the turmoil, she’ll be able to approach London with the same unbendable optimism as Giselle brings to New York.

Smile and sing to the world and the world will dance with you, regardless if you’re in Central Park or Hyde Park. Giselle is naïve, sometimes annoyingly so, but isn’t there enough of cynicism as there is in the world?

Whatever that is waiting her on the other side of the lid, I hope she’ll embrace it and explore it until it’s time to buy that return ticket.

I’ll be waiting on my side of the sewer, ready with another movie to welcome her home. I’ve got some time to figure out which one.

Enchanted (Kevin Lima, US 2007) My rating: 4,5/5

Written by Jessica

August 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Enchanted

28 Responses

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  1. Very nice piece!


    August 13, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    • Thanks!


      August 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      • What Keith said. Best of luck to your daughter… what a great choice to commemorate this moment w/ Enchanted 🙂


        August 14, 2013 at 12:02 am

        • Thank you Ruth! I think it was my husband who stumbled upon the film somewhere and bought it, with the idea that we’d watch it all together at some point. But the opportunity didn’t turn up until the very last night. It was a perfect fit, even better than I had imagined.


          August 14, 2013 at 8:16 am

  2. What a nice read. Honestly. Brilliant read. Really liked how you told the story of your daughter leaving on her own big adventure.

    She’ll do well remembering how well Giselle took to New York 😀 Excellent film choice. Sooner than you know it, she’ll be walking around London like a real Londoner… face down and looking no one in the face. It’s how you know you’re a Londoner 😉


    August 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    • Awww. Thank you! I’ve got a ton of movies that I’ve seen the last few weeks to write about, but this was the story that I needed to get off my chest. Writing as therapy. The separation is of course inevitable, a part of life as it is, but it’s not entirely easy. I’m at least glad we got this final movie night together.

      Haha, if that’s how you recognize a Londoner I hope she’ll manage not to become one. 🙂


      August 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm

  3. Wow, very powerful! Thanks for sharing. Hope everything works out for you and your daughter.


    August 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    • Thank you! I hope things will go well. I’ve heard from her and so far she seems to be fine. She has completed her first quest: to get herself a British phone card. Getting an adapter is also high on her to do-list. The job hunt starts tomorrow! 🙂


      August 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm

  4. That’s bound to be a learning experience.


    August 13, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    • Yes, most likely for both of us. I have to learn to let go…


      August 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm

  5. Wow J –

    You have an emotional honesty in your writing that I can only dream of achieving. All the best to your young’n, hopefully London treats her well. Likewise, all the best to you and yours who will no doubt worry like hell about her, even when London does treat her well.

    Ryan McNeil

    August 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    • Awww, thanks Ryan. I believe this kind of emotional writing only comes when there’s a reason for it. It’s like a natural force, something that you need to get out of your system. Doesn’t hapen all the time.

      I’ve been quite distracted lately, having issues with my sleeping and so on. I think it’s all this tension in the air that makes it. But once she gets established it should start to get better.


      August 13, 2013 at 11:32 pm

  6. Great post as always, Jessica! Very nice choice for a farewell movie. Enchanted is such a good one and Amy Adams is just excellent in it. Best of luck to your daughter and I hope you don’t miss her TOO much!


    August 14, 2013 at 1:29 am

    • Thank you Fernando! I will miss her being here in person obviously, but at least it’s much easier to stay in contact these days thanks to Internet. If it had been me going when I was in her age, it would have been an entirely different thing.


      August 14, 2013 at 8:13 am

  7. I’m speechless. I’m without speech.

    Well, not completely. I can only imagine a young woman raised by the person that wrote this will do just fine on her own in London.

    Great piece, Jessica.


    August 14, 2013 at 2:05 am

    • Why, thank you Nick! Good lord, if I didn’t have a writer’s block before I’ll definitely get it now. But your kind words are still much appreciated!


      August 14, 2013 at 8:14 am

  8. I read your post and feel like crying a bit. I´ll do that. I cry a bit. Learn to let go. Necessary but not easy. Time goes so fast…. Uhhhhäääää.


    August 14, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    • I didn’t intend to make you cry, but now that you mention it I feel like it. I did tear up a bit in the car as we were driving to the airport at 5 am, listening to Simon & Garfunkel’s Central Park concert. Their songs are so much about travelling for me. And homecoming. It’s all connected. Anyway: you’re perfectly right about how quickly it goes. Before you know it you’ll be in the same situation, wondering where all those years went. Trust me.


      August 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm

  9. What a sweet and personal post — liked it a lot. And your daughter is a brave one indeed, all the best of luck to her.


    August 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm

  10. Good luck to your daughter – as a parent of two young children, I am already anxious for that “leaving the nest” moment to come in several years time. You handled it well, it seems. Enchanted is a perfect film.

    The Hot Rod

    August 15, 2013 at 8:54 am

    • It remains to see how I’ll cope during the autumn. She’s doing very well over there. Only a little more than a week and she’s already got a job and a place to live. I don’t expect her to get back before next year. But on the other hand there’s nothing that stops me from taking the plunge to see her in her new enchanted country. That’s a comforting thought.


      August 23, 2013 at 12:38 am

  11. […] a sucker for posts written straight from the heart. This week, nothing was more heartfelt than this post at The Velvet Cafe, where Jessica chronicles the changing landscape of her family. Give it a read […]

  12. Great piece, Jessica. My girls are four-and-a-half and five months, but I’m already seeing them grow so fast. Time moves so quickly, and I can sympathize with how things are changing for you. And Enchanted is so charming!

    Dan Heaton

    August 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    • Tank you Dan! You have no idea how quckly it goes. One day they’re toddlers and poof, they’ve grown to adults. It goes as quckly as the pumpkin turns to a wagon in Cinderella. Believe me.


      August 23, 2013 at 12:39 am

  13. I hope she will be perfectly well, and happy in London Jessica.


    August 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    • Yeah, probably much better off than me. I’ll cry a bit on your shoulder about it.


      August 23, 2013 at 12:40 am

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