Ever gone through a difficult time and hummed “just keep swimming”?
Been on a bad holiday and thought “there is no place like home”?
Recently got angry and started singing “let it go”?
You’re not the only one. Many movies we watched as kids have a big impact on our psyche. So much so that we can still quote those unforgettable characters years later.
With school holidays still upon us I have found myself with ample time to watch a few movies with my children. Now that they’re a little older we have moved along in taste of movies and no longer limited to the token hit cartoon movies that us parents have to to sit through, over and over again.
I’ve also taken it upon myself to introduce them to some of the big screen movies that impacted me as a child. For me it was The Wizard of Oz, Karate Kid, Rocky, Superman and The Goonies. For others it was Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, The Lion King and Star Wars. Movies that leave such an impression on us that they can unconsciously guide us through future life crises that we all inevitably go through.
Some movies make us dream big, others help us through friendship crises, death and loved loss. Some make us buzz with so much motivation that we walk out of the cinema feeling like we can tackle anything.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels the adrenalin pumping when they hear Eye of The Tiger on the radio.
Personally, my family has gone through more than its fair share of adversity in the last couple of years, and I know myself and my children have taken comfort in the journey some main characters have gone through on the big screen.
Many movies follow the pattern of the Hero’s Journey, which was originally noted by American Scholar, Joseph Campbell. A character embarks on an adventure, goes through a crisis and wins a victory, then comes home transformed. Usually living happily ever after. It is the familiar template from many books and movies we indulge in, particularly as children. With their unlikely heroes, call to adventures, trials, mentors, life tests, enemies and tests. These movies accurately mirror our own lives. There are times when we have to use all the internal resources we have to get through our struggles.
If you think of the some of the successful children movies, none of the main characters had it easy from the beginning. A parent has usually died (a bonus when a wicked step parent has replaced them), or they are living in poverty. Some are lost, alone, socially awkward, or felt they didn’t belong. Some even live in the cupboard under a staircase.
After nearly falling apart because of their circumstances we see our favourite characters rise above their experiences and find the drive and motivation to overcome these obstacles. If Luke Skywalker, Simba, Cinderella, Dorothy or Harry can do it, so can we.
It is also important to note that all the main characters in our childhood movies have support in their trials, never tackling life alone. We all need a Yoda, a Dory, a Tin Man, Lion, and a Scarecrow on our life journey. We all need a Timon & Pumbaa whispering ‘hakuna matata’ to us now and again.
Heroes can come in many forms. In fact, they are almost always imperfect and flawed. They all trip up Clark Kent style, like the best of us.
So perhaps looking to some old movies might be just what you need. If you’re in need of a little motivation to get you through a crises right now, perhaps dusting off a movie from your past can give you the inspiration you might need.
Have a great week,