A farewell to childhood with Enchanted
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