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Movie Review: “The Little Prince”

ec4e725b6d1c1d6faf94e3a956f7a7e4Based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Version: 2015; starring Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, James Franco

Genre: children’s; animation

Plot Summary: [from IMDb:] “A little girl lives in a very grown-up world with her mother, who tries to prepare her for it. Her neighbor, the Aviator, introduces the girl to an extraordinary world where anything is possible, the world of the Little Prince.”

My Review: Disclaimer*: I have not read the original book, so this review will not by comparing it to that novel.  Only as a story in and of itself, totally unrelated to the book.  

Growing up, my mom had two copies of the French classic “The Little Prince.” One was in French (and incomprehensible to me), the other in English. Neither interested me very much.  The pictures looked bland and too unbelievable.  I was sure I wouldn’t enjoy the story.

Not too long ago I saw that Netflix had made an animated version of the book and I didn’t mind sitting down to spend an evening that way. I was mildly curious.  I was not prepared to be blown away.

I think I was drawn into it from the first notes of music. The art, the plot, the script were beautifully done.  The old phonograph playing was enough to melt my heart alone!  I was nearly crying by the end of it.  And now I want to read the book very much.  It isn’t often that film versions inspire me to read the book, but when they do…  🙂

This movie is actually told in two stories. One is of a little girl who is expected to live a life where childhood is forgotten.  She unexpectedly meets her next door neighbor, an eccentric old man (and self-proclaimed ‘hoarder’) who used to be an aviator once upon a time.  He begins to woo her friendship by telling her the story of the Little Prince he met in another world long ago.  The story of the Little Prince and his rose is told through stop-motion animation, and I loved every bit about it!  I enjoyed it even more for it’s nuances, and thought-provoking lines about life that are hidden like gems throughout where you have to mine them to interpret the meaning for yourself.  Wonderful!

5dc9afdfecd8144ffddd97bd0c8b18e9There are many who abhor this film because they say it takes too many liberties with the book. Apparently the story of the little girl trying to live the expected life of an adult is not in the original.  Since I’ve never read it, I don’t even know if the part of the Little Prince is told faithfully.  But I know I loved the film and that it has inspired me to pick up a book I never knew I needed to read before.  I would say that is the effect of a well-told, don’t you?

One of my favorite lines comes from the Aviator consoling the little girl when she tells him she doesn’t want to grow up. He responds, “Growing up isn’t the problem– forgetting is.”  I wish someone had been able to tell me that when I was a kid and afraid of graduating to adulthood.  This wisdom makes a world of difference because it is true!  I have found that becoming a true adult is really only becoming the person you were meant to be, which includes the parts of childhood that are good and pure and young in heart.  Idealistically, the aim is to shed the ‘juvenile’ ways we used to think and act.  Juvenility is to be differentiated from being childlike in that it is immature, selfish, and narrow-minded.  (1 Cor. 13:11)  Childhood, on the other hand is essentially joy, wonder, and innocence.

1631c1a78f3a24aa2c2690874535b559I have met older adults, even Christians in their 60’s, behave like juveniles. I have met adults who have completely forgotten what is childhood, instead exuding joylessness, hyper-practicality, and busyness.  But I have also met other adults who have retained their openness to life, wonder at the world, and quest to learn and grow- the mark of a true ‘child at heart.’  That is what God means for us to be, I think.  And for us believers, we are all to be trusting children in relation to Him.

And He said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3)

I do have a qualm about the movie’s plotline, and that is although it is an indie flick, it does not escape the usual Hollywood storyarc of children being better-knowing than their parents (or more often single parent): rebelling against the ‘status quo’, and teaching the parents they do not know what is best for their kids. See an excellent article on this topic here.

But the voices (esp. Jeff Bridges’ for the Aviator) were great!  Bridges has a voice that has aged well, resulting in a friendly, comforting effect.  I also loved the Fox, voiced by James Franco.  So adorable!

I recommend this glimmering, luminous movie for family viewing, young and old alike. If you approach it being prepared that it’s more loosely based on the book, I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Posted by on December 13, 2017 in Movie Reviews

 

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The Dark Nursery Past & Present

Have you ever wondered about the origins of seemingly nonsensical nursery rhymes?

Ring around the rosie,

A pocket full of posies,

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!

Why in the world do we teach young children these simplistic poems when we don’t even know what they are talking about?  Are they clues to some hidden meaning or are their histories long past memory?

In this shortish, informative article by Clemency Burton-Hill, I learned that many nursery rhymes were at one time veiled records of current events.  It’s fascinating, and helps to view these children’s poems in a closer light.

But why are they children’s poems?  Are they fit for children?  The Victorians certainly didn’t think so, and began the campaign to clean the rhymes up.  Okay, I’m grateful for that.  I’d much rather my young’uns babbling fun repetitive sounds than knowingly reciting tales of torture techniques geared for male genitals.  I’m convinced of the educative quality of children learning soothing sounds and rhythms.

But I got to thinking about how ‘shocked’ we are to learn of the real meanings that lie behind these mysterious sing-songs.  It was dealing with the world as they knew it at the time, only later being ‘sanitized’ for society.  We live in a much more decent world, our children are much more innocent…  Or are they?  Our world contains much violence today.  School shootings, child molestation, human trafficking.  However, what worries me more than these issues is what they learn in the home little on up from those nearest to them.  Broken homes, where mom’s had three boyfriends in the past month.  If dad’s in the picture, he’s never grown up himself and spends his waking time playing violent video games or watching adult “cartoons” that spew forth 4 letter (and 3 letter) words.  “Mother”; “It”; “hotdogs and buns”…  And we’re shocked over Rock a Bye Baby?

No, I’m not stressed over wool tax.  I’m worried about the little boy who lives down the lane, who grows up in a world where his dad was busy texting during his first steps and his mom can’t decide whether or not to give him up for adoption because she spends part of her time in jail.  He doesn’t get to be read or sung nursery rhymes.  It’s heartbreaking, and it’s not just little Danny.  His story is a common epidemic!

Yes– clean up the content for the little ones, but let’s not forget about the overall home we’re raising our kids in.  Is it mentally, spiritually, emotionally clean and healthy?  Ultimately, the only way for this to be possible is for the people in the home to be rooted in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eventually, there’s only so much we can protect our kids from.  We do not live in bubbles forever, and it’s important to remember history from those who came before.  People from long ago passed their experiences down to us in rhymes.  What will we pass down?

 

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Little Luxuries?

There is something that annoys me no end. It occurs when I or another book-lover start to talk about books and the person we are conversing with makes some high-handed comment that goes something like this: “I wish I had the luxury of time to read!” This seems to me to be an insult-in-disguise, as if I must be wasting my time if I’m caught reading a book, especially a novel of all things.

If you dig further, you’ll probably find the comment is made out of insecurity. Perhaps I came off sounding too intellectual and they felt inferior.  I hope not, but it could be the case.  Or maybe they used to love to read, but seriously haven’t the time or (more likely) the priority to read and so they feel guilty.

Whatever the case, I am trying to learn to not take it personally. But I started thinking about the whole thing of books and luxuries.  In the area of the world that I live in, we (me included) take books for granted.  We have access to libraries, bookstores, used book sales, interlibrary loan systems, and book selling websites.  School, college, kindles…  Books are even pitched by the hundreds by thrift stores that do not know what to do with all of the ones they receive as donations.  However, in other parts of the world, to own just one book is a pleasure that many people don’t have.  Even being able to read is a luxury and could change a whole family’s life forever if just one child could learn.

Time to read is a luxury as well. I am realizing this as my life changes.  When I was a homeschooled teenager, I read all day for school and then read some more afterwards for ‘fun’.  I’m finding I can’t read as many books in a year as I used to.  Other basic things like cleaning, working, grocery shopping, sleeping, taking time for spiritual growth, etc. take precedence.  However, I have learned to rearrange some things and that has been helping lately.  I’ve found that when I set parameters around certain time-wasters [ie, pinterest!], I can then set reading as a higher priority.

Although I wouldn’t consider reading as essential to life as meal-preparing for example, it vies as a close level category. Why?  Because reading affects quality of life.  When we read, we are open to learning.  When we can learn and grow, we can stretch beyond what was previously possible.  I don’t mean that a person will ‘get rich quick’ if they are able to read.  But the quality of one’s mind and decisions stemming from that will be greatly different than someone who chooses to remain un-self-schooled.  Reading and learning go hand in hand.

I notice this effect in the community in which I live. I don’t abide in a particularly affluent neighborhood.  Along with living here comes stereotypical opinions from others.  It is true, a lot of my neighbors are generally unread, unskilled, and spend their time choosing to engage in unrefined activities.  However, there are a few folks here I’ve come to know who are different in that they are principled, learned (by choice), and their lives have more order and structure.  They may not have a lot of money, yet their quality of life is elevated because of their values (usually honoring God falls into place here), and their determination to be open to learning in the world around them.  Perhaps what is the most mind-blowing is that both of these sets of people have access to a perfectly good library within possible walking distance!

The luxury of time to read? Time may be a luxury depending on what season of life you are in but if one has available access to books, reading should not be a luxury, rather it should be an appreciated necessity!

PS- Many utilize the more trending medium of audiobooks to get more ‘reading’ into their busy schedule.  This is perfectly acceptable, as it still incorporates the power of story and learning into one’s life.  I use the term ‘reading’ in this article to include ‘listening’ as well.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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How Biblical is the Fantasy Genre?

Someone recently approached my mom and asked her if she liked fantasy.  Sure, she said; some of it.

What constitutes fantasy that is good as opposed to fantasy that is bad?  Is there a difference?  Is there something about it that should make one hesitant from a Christian perspective, or are they all just good fiction stories?  As Christians, we may sometimes be reserved when approaching the fantasy genre because different reasons.  Too much unreality may not be beneficial, or maybe the magical elements are of a corrupting influence.  Then, I have known other Christians who seem to practice no discernment, and devour anything because none of it is true so what’s the problem?

I first discovered author Gene Edward Veith while helping out in the church library.  I still have yet to read his books, but a growing number of his titles are on my TBR list.  I stumbled upon this article written by him, entitled Good Fantasy & Bad Fantasy.  I thought it was an excellent piece that approached the subject in an well-rounded way.  Though perhaps written a few years ago, it’s content is still classic for today’s audience as well.

What are your thoughts on the fantasy genre?

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Reading Fiction

I loved this article by Caryn Rivadeneira I found on Think Christian. I hope you get a chance to read it (it’s not very long), but basically, it is about the importance for Christians to read fiction as well as non-fiction books.

I confess that I am deeply concerned when I hear Christians say they ‘could care less’ about reading, or that they only read non-fiction. I have made two observations about these sorts of people.  If they don’t read at all, they are usually a person I have a hard time connecting with because I find them narrow minded.  The observation about the people who only read factual books is that they are usually men.  As if ‘real men don’t read fiction’ the way they also don’t eat quiche.  Or quinoa.  (And if they don’t read at all, they probably don’t know how to pronounce them either.)

I don’t care if the Christian reader or care-less non-reader is male or female. There is an important spot in their intellectual, emotional, mental diet for fiction.  They are probably not generally against watching movies, but the difference is that fiction requires more application and imagination.  Yes, it is something to be developed.  It is not a passive activity.  There are different reading levels and one will probably start at the bottom and work their way up if their mind is not used to reading.  But I have known deeply well-read people (even men) who have well-developed minds and emotions.  This must be evidence that not all fiction is fluff.

I don’t believe any book is better than God’s holy Word, the Bible, and I am currently reading a marvelous non-fiction book on the spiritual life by Brennan Manning. But even so I often find that God can use fiction to speak to me in different ways.  Not all books all the time, but recently there have been a few good reads that I believe God has used to draw some things to my attention, that have bothered me until I was forced to think about why.  These books weren’t necessarily Christian or literary.  But when I read fiction, I am put into the place of the characters and their feelings and I experience their lives in a way.  And it reminds me of things in my life past or present, and it brings things to the surface.  Is this scary?  It can be sometimes.  But God is there with me, holding my hand through it.  What a friend we have in Jesus!  He’s even my reading buddy.  🙂

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Dr. Rosalie de Rosset on Popular Fiction

b1893aa5519046e7963ad36493183ecfI discovered this article on Christianity Today that was published a few years back, in which Dr. Rosalie De Rosset was interviewed on the subject of popular fiction.  Despite the piece’s title “Women Are Being ‘Cheated’ By Fifty Shades”, the article is not particularly the same old harangue against E. L. James’ novel.  I found it to sum up Dr. De Rosset’s views on modern fiction and the Christian reader.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Q: How Much Do You Read at a Time?

d8f0759d4e55f98655a9919f46a67346I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

I have a question: How much do you read at a time?

Some people will sit down and devour a whole novel in one sitting because they are so absorbed in it. But, most of us do not have this luxury even if we wished hard for it.  After all, we are busy living our own stories as well!  So just how does a person go about deciding how much to read at a given time?

There really is no right or wrong way to answer this. Even the above example of reading a book in a day is not ‘wrong’, although there are some studies that show a person will not retain as much of what they read if they do not take some breaks or time away from it.  I find this true for me, yet at the same time can also struggle to remember what happened when I take too much time away from break to break.

A lot usually depends on the free time a person has. Actually, I really shouldn’t write ‘free time’, as what time in this world is really free?  Time is more like an investment.  How much time can you afford to invest in reading a particular book?  As some books are light entertainment and others are more like brain exercise, the answer to this question might vary from book to book.

My goal this year had been to read four books a month, whether fiction or non-fiction. As it turns out, I had way too much on my plate for this to become a reality.  I have been lucky if I’ve accomplished reading 2 pages a night!  (I will have to analyze this dilemma further and figure out how to remedy it in the coming year, but more on that later.)  My goal is at least a couple of pages every day if I can’t make it more.  But the point is to not quit reading, no matter how slow it is taking me!

Sometimes when I am reading, I will decide on how much to read at one sitting by how long the chapters are, or the length of sections within a chapter. Sometimes I will be reading in the middle of a dialogue among characters, knowing I have to soon break off to go do something else or go to bed, but not wanting to end it in the middle of the verbal action.  I hate breaking things off like that, and it’s also hard to pick it back up and get in the swing of things later on.  So I usually read to the end of the conversation and break off at a scene change or during lots of narration.

Obviously, the more one can read at a time, the quicker the book will be finished and one can anticipate the next story. People are different in how they like to read, whether they love to slowly savor an interesting book, or prefer to quickly find out what happens next.  How do you like to read?

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in Reading Habits

 

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