I thought the lead singer of Audioslave was singing, “Be yourself is all that chickens do.” Turns out he was vocalizing a deep value in our culture today: “Be yourself is all that you can do.”
And we all would agree, right? I am sure that we would all nod affirmingly if we heard a public speaker charge that children and adults must embrace who they are: their heritage, lineage, temperament, hopes, dreams, their beauty (both inner and outer). A good friend of mine has a blog of his own that is completely dedicated to this value.
But can we also all agree that it’s easier said than done? Show me a kid in high school who believes everyone should accept themselves for who they are, and I’ll show you a young individual who will dress, talk, act and shop in accordance to what s/he thinks his/her friends will approve. I’ll also show you his parents and grandparents do the same. (Don’t believe me about the grandparents? Go to McDonald’s at 10 am and tell me if you see any similarities in how the customers there dress, talk, shop, etc.)
Acceptance seems to be a major theme in this week’s movie. A family on a road trip find themselves in situations where they are faced with their past, their future, their present, or any combination therein. And sometimes it’s the struggle of facing another family member’s past/future/present. Their difficulty comes to a head in that all too familiar moment of acceptance. And these moments become some of the most memorable scenes.
Then a weird thought came to me… Acceptance is the final stage of the grieving process. Could this be why it’s so difficult? Even the colourful characters in this movie seem to go through the other five grieving stages (denial, anger, bargaining and depression). I don’t pretend that this was the director’s intent, but they are captured and portrayed nicely. This theme of acceptance becomes most explicit when Toni Collette, the maternal character, pleads with her husband and step-son, “we have to let Olive be Olive!”
The only things about ourselves that we have difficulty facing are the things we grieve. Whether we think we’re unattractive, unlikable, unsuccessful, or uncoordinated, we don’t like looking at those things and thinking about them.
But when we do.
When we look at those things and allow ourselves to laugh, cry or simply shrug our shoulders, it feels freaking great.
Congratulations Little Miss Sunshine. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: I have to force myself not to choose any of the child Oscar nominees this week. They are all outstanding and I would hate to choose a winner between the three. This week I would give the nod to Toni Collette.
Best Actor: Looks like LMS is sweeping the awards here, but I think Steve Carell is the best actor out of this week’s options. Btw, if you go to LMS‘s IMDb page, click on “trivia” and read the information on how he came to be cast in this movie, I think you’ll enjoy it.
Best Quote: “I’m getting pulled over. Everyone just… pretend to be normal.” — Greg Kinear as Richard Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine.
Again, I wouldn’t say that this would be any writer’s or director’s intention in this film, but I love that Breslin’s character is named Olive. Think of what an olive is like. It’s one of those foods that you either love or hate. Very few people would sit on the fence when it comes to olives—and that goes for green, black and purple. Yet, love them or hate them, an olive is an olive. And you can’t change that.