The Hobbit, meh

I didn’t really like the Hobbit. Like everyone else in the world, I loved the earlier Lord of the Rings. 

Hobbit3I loved the book. I have memories of sitting on my father’s lap and listening with my brothers as dad read to us on the back patio in Skokie, Illinois on a warm summer night.

But the movie left me with one burning question:

Where are the women?

Do orcs, dwarves, hobbits, ogres reproduce through spawning? This movie was like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves without Snow White.

I know men rule the world, but really. Really?

No wonder Middle-earth is so violent. There are no women with whom to partner, make love, reason, journey alongside, learn from, share.

Last I checked women and girls made up half of the world’s population and half of the movie-going audiences. Why dis us this way?

The only woman in this film was the lovely Cate Blanchett who is really more of a spirit than a body. While the men can eat and travel and fight, her special talent is that she disappears. Perfect for this movie.

The movie was clearly made for and by men and boys. It unfolds like a video game — now that you’ve surpassed the scary tiger level, you move on to the orc level, and if you move on from that level, you may proceed to the next level. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I do like a subgenre of movies where the hero (always male) doubts himself and then finds he has within him what he needed all along. (Like Glory! An all-male movie too, but brilliant!) And I guess this journey towards courage in the face of self-doubt motif happens for Baggins on his journey. But I was hoping for something more.

Even Skyfall had a few juicy women characters like Dame Judi Dench and Naomie Harris.

If you are looking for a holiday blockbuster, go to see Les Misérables, a fun adventure for girls and boys, men and women.

Les Mis

Yesterday I saw Les Misérables. This is my guilty pleasure. I love the musical. I have always loved it. Loved Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman and their vulnerability. I loved that they let themselves look like (or be covered in) shit. That’s an actor!

Today’s prompt is:

Tell us about a guilty pleasure that you hate to love.

I hate to love the movies, but they are my therapy.

They take me away. In the last month, I have seen a couple of awesome French films, Amour and Rust and Bone. And now Les Mis, which is set in Paris. The city is moody and dark, yet it is the city of light. This year we need a lot of  light.

I’ve wanted to go to Paris for years. I have friends there and a place to stay, but I feel it’s too far or too expensive. With Chris’s illness, I feel I should only travel close to home and only for a few days.

When I go to the movies, I go to Paris and am still home in time to greet the kids as they walk in the door after school.

One of the darlings went to the premiere and met the celebs. Here she is with Amanda Seyfried.
One of the darlings went to the premiere and met the celebs. Here she is with amazing Amanda Seyfried.

The life lessons in Les Mis are brilliant:

  • To love another person is to see the face of God
  • Show faith in and forgive people cast off by society just as the priest forgave the thief Valjean, played by Jackman
  • Let your children love and let them go. This song, “Bring Him Home,” by Jackman was a real tear-jerker
  • Care for all children, as if they were your own
  • Show kindness, always
  • Have passion for your cause
  • Know that change will come
  • Workplace squabbles can lead to prostitution

Maybe that last one is not a good life lesson, but you get the idea.

Believe in the power of passionate individuals to change the world. I know there are many more life lessons in Les Mis to explore, but I am heading to Middle-earth today.

Yes, I am going to see The Hobbit at noon.

And so I leave you with the words of Valjean.

And from a writing teacher’s point of view, I must point out these lyrics are so brilliant because they are so simple. Almost all of the words are one syllable, but they pack in so much emotion, just like the musical.

“Bring Him Home”

Bring him peace
Bring him joy
He is young
He is only a boy

You can take
You can give
Let him be
Let him live
If I die, let me die
Let him live
Bring him home