Jack and the Bean Stalk is such a familiar story, so many lessons to be learned. So when Jack the Giant Slayer came out this year, I added it to my video queue. Tonight I watched and it was a decent flick. However, I was disappointed in one regards: the potential this film had to empower its female lead and its failure to do so.
Part of this story is about the desire of Princess Isabella to prove she is leader and capable of taking care of herself. She is the heir and future queen. The bulk of her story focuses on her arguments with her father about letting her do the things he’d allow a prince to do but which he forbids her to do.
There were several opportunities for the story tellers to have expanded her role and showed how she was capable. It could have added her strength to it without detracting from Jack’s and really given young girls an action heroine in the vein of Merida from last year’s Brave. Instead, we got what we’ve always gotten: a girl who needs a boy to save her.
For whatever reason, this is troubling me tonight. Why couldn’t Isabella have taken the crown? Why couldn’t she have come up with some clever escapes? Would it really have lessened the movie if she’d actually been what she kept saying she was?
Before you read any further here, read this and this.
Roger Ebert was a part of my life for a very very long time. I knew him with Gene Siskel doing the thumbs up or down thing and I was sad to hear he died earlier this year. Today I stumbled across those articles by chance. It stirred something in me, that this is my life philosophy as well. Although ‘kindness’ summarizes it really well, I prefer the fuller quote: “I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”
I’ve recently met a woman recovering from ovarian cancer. She was self-employed prior to the diagnosis and so her income dwindle to nothing during the treatment. Today, she found out her car needs repairs and the cost is significant. I know from being unemployed the fear of outstanding bills and needing more than I can afford. I know from watching KT going through her cancer that if I can help I should. I can’t help her the way she needs so I’m putting this out to everyone. Help if you can. Share if you can’t. I think even a small amount from enough people would make a difference.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams
I found this story on Facebook today; just a moment’s curiosity about the video. It’s a story of hope and overcoming, a story about what impossible really is not. Arthur Boorman found people to believe in him and that gave him the strength to change his life. What strength can we give to others just by saying, “Yes, you can.” rather “No, that’s impossible.”
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
- Ulysses, Alfred, Lord Tennyson
I stumbled upon this today. It’s one of my favorite philosophical issues: Do unto others as you would have done to you. When we beat people down because we’ve been beaten down, we’re just propagating an unhealthy cycle. The author also summed it up well: Question everything.
“If you can become the leader you ought
to be on the inside, you will be able to
become the person you want on the
outside. People will want to follow you.
And when that happens, you’ll be able
to tackle anything in this world.”