Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Tale of Despereaux

Sheri at akindofmagick points out an unpleasant adoption theme in The Tale of Despereaux:

SPOILER ALERT:"Miggiry Sow"?? Gimme a break!! That girl was truly painful to look at. No way would she have been chosen to serve the princess. And, oh yeah - the wonderful scene where the father gives away the baby Miggiry to the mean
couple who later sold her for the same price as a pig - the former scene was
replayed several times, the latter thankfully only once - both were just lovely.
NOT. I think - I HOPE - that both scenes went over my girls' heads... but I don't know.

We went to see it, and I wish I'd had a heads-up about it! I agree that the scene where the father gives the baby away is painful from an adoption perspective, but in talking about it with the girls afterwards, I focused on how happy the father was when he and his daughter were reunited and how sad he was that he couldn't care for her. Even bad media -- maybe even especially bad media -- can provide a teaching moment!


Mei-Ling said...

I saw it.

The initial scene didn't get to me.

My Misconception Adoption Radar went red flagging at the scene where she said "It's quite alright."

Like, I get that it's a kid's movie, but UGH! It'll give people the impression that abandoning your child is okay because *clearly* everything is a fairytale in the end anyway!

SO. NOT. OKAY. /end rant

Sheri said...

I love most anything animated - but I don't consider this one a kids movie. There isn't a category for "Not appropriate for children under the age of 10" - but darnit, there should be. See my blog for my full review - several of the six year olds in our group were crying and hiding their faces (and it was a birthday party!!). My youngest daughter brought up the subject of the movie again in the car just this morning: "Mommy, how did the rats get the princess into the dungeon to eat her?" Me: "Umm, well, because the servant girl went a little bonkers and betrayed the princess." QQ: "What's 'betrayed' mean, Mommy?" Me: "She wanted to be a princess herself, and the princess was snippy with her, so she got mad. But then she was sorry she was so naughty later and there was a happy ending, remember? She found her daddy and the princess apologized. But remember, it's only a silly cartoon movie, not real life, right?!" RIGHT. I wish we hadn't seen it. Next time we're invited to a movie, I'm checking the reviews closely before-hand!!

Anonymous said...

We haven't seen the movie, but my daughter's 3rd grade class read the book last year. I asked her about whether she remembers a father giving up a baby...here is the response:

Maggie: Yes, he traded the baby for a box of cigarettes and a head.
Me: What did you think about that?
Maggie: No! The uncle was mean to her. Her body grew but her head stayed small.
Me: Do you think that could happen in real life?
Maggie: No!

Anonymous said...

Oh, it was a hen, she was traded for, not a head. Sheesh!