Tonight, I watched this movie:
It was ... ... interesting. I don't know if I'd recommend it to everybody. Actually, I'm not even sure I liked it. At least, not the traditional definition of "like". It would be more accurate to say it fascinated/terrified/intrigued me. It was one of those movies that enters your brain slowly, wriggling in through your ear and through layers of conscious thought until it hits the innermost psyche, until it feeds on every fear and doubt and insecurity and philosophy you hold.
That sounded dramatic.
The thing is, every character resonated with me. Near the beginning I saw myself as a child, identified with the imaginative worlds and fantasies. Then came the drama teacher, and she encapsulated everything I hope to be as an adult and an educator (one of the shortcomings of the film is how grossly underused she was). But even as I watched, I convinced myself that I could never be that way, that I have too much doubt brought on by social and self pressure. Can I ever really accept myself, can I ever "see myself for who I am"?
And Phoebe's mother. Ugh. Even as I hoped to imitate one person, I saw my future, far less pleasant, in another. There is one part where the mom breaks down and lists the angers and concerns she has. I want so badly to not be like that when I've reached that point, but I feel like I will, that I'll age into a haunted shell.
So I sat there through the movie, these agonizingly egotistical worries crushing me, compounded by the onscreen drama. Then came the end, which I found strangely comforting.
WARNING. SLIGHT SPOILERS.
Part of the climax deals with an absence of hope. Hope is such an odd, elusive thing. With most definitions, it goes hand in hand with faith. While I was hiking with some family/friends last week, we discussed the commonly held belief that you can't have fear when you have faith (slash hope). We all agreed that principle was baloney. Hogwash. Utter false doctrine. If there is an opposition in all things, then fear is not only going to be a part of our lives, but it is a necessity.
Right now I'm reading Mormon Scientist, the biography of Henry Eyring (not to be confused with son Henry B.) (also, this is a great book, especially for Mormon intellectuals). One section deals with the fear that accompanied and aided Henry's life. Henry managed by not having "fearfulness, but rather respect for powerful forces and inevitable consequences." When used that way, fear quite naturally runs to a confidence in ones self, an assurance that we will be able to handle what comes our way, regardless.
Bringing this back to the movie, Pheobe in Wonderland finishes in the most glorious way I could imagine. Using quotations from the book, it ends with a hanging question, leaving it open for the audience. It asks, quite literally, "who are you"? We all have misgivings about ourselves. There will be times when we aren't satisfied with what we have to offer the world, and that could tempt us to never try and to hide away in mediocrity. But if negativity is faced straight on, victory is possible. We can overcome challenges. We can more than accept the person we are, we can gain self-reliance through the process of unwavering trust in our own self.