Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Love trumps hate

The second time I got choked up during a movie this past weekend, this time to a far less demonstrative extent than the first, was during Kubo and the Two Strings, a more likely candidate for such behavior than The Purge: Election Year.

But it wasn't a moment you'd think might choke me up, or perhaps what the filmmakers wanted to choke me up. (Though it did occur very near the end, so it was probably part of their nefarious plan after all.)

Warning! Kubo spoilers ahead.

It wasn't anything related to the loss of either of Kubo's parents, or the deceased relatives of any of the other characters, who "come to life" for a moment in a pretty magical sequence involving floating lanterns that transform into the spirits of lost loved ones. In fact, many of the story's narrative beats kept me a bit at arm's length.

No, it was how the townspeople in Kubo's village treated his grandfather, who, in the film's climax, awakens without any memory of his years upon decades of evil scheming and ruining of lives.

And it was probably only because I had to give voice to the theme by explaining it to my son that a hitch caught my words.

My son had agreed to watch the movie (despite not being excited by many movies I'd offered him lately) and had survived a number of fairly intense/scary moments -- I myself even got the chills at the first appearance of the evil sisters -- so here we found ourselves, somewhat miraculously, at the end of the movie.

And my son was understandably curious as to why the townspeople, instead of casting out this man who had brought them only pain, misery and death, tried to fill his wiped memory with false stories of all the many ways he'd demonstrated his generosity to them.

I said, "Instead of telling him he was mean, they told him he was good."

I'm glad there were no more words in that sentence because I wouldn't have gotten them out clearly.

A purer act of kindness I could not imagine.

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