In the past week I have watched 3 movies - Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Princess Diaries 2, and Seabiscuit. The first 2 were obviously written for high school girls, whose biggest quest (at least according to the entertainment industry) is for personal identity & being noticed by a handsome young man. While entertaining, they were far from realistic. I laughed, groaned, and, of course, hoped for Lola and Mia's eventual success, but it was not a soul-thirst-quenching experience. There was no overlap with my own life.
Seabiscuit was different. An unlikely group of men, all beat-up and disillusioned with life, come together against all odds and learn how to dream again. Perhaps the target audience is all of us who are struggling to make sense out of a life that seems a few fries short of a happy meal. Abandonment, grief, loss, abuse, anger, the lure of escape ... and a cautious hope cultivated through relationships set the scene for a moving drama. Better yet, it's true!
All these movies got me wondering, "What is it I really like in a movie?" For me, a movie worth watching wrestles with real life issues and comes through - not to perfection or utopia - but to a place of hope amidst pain. We all know that life on earth isn't 'happily ever after.' What we need to know is that there is another way to live in the midst of our struggles. Hope is not the absence of problems but the ability to look past them because we know that there is more to life than meets the eye.