Monday, October 16, 2006

Through Thick and Thin

This past weekend I saw two great movies about very different kinds of families: I Am Sam and Little Miss Sunshine. Both movies promote the positive family value of "sticking together through thick and thin," but in quite different ways. Although I would recommend I Am Sam for most audiences (I saw the edited for TV version -- original has some language in it, I believe), I would be cautious in recommending Little Miss Sunshine to anyone I don't know.

The language in Little Miss Sunshine is quite offensive at times, and some of the subject matter is very adult (homosexuality, pornography), BUT the end result (spoiler alert!) is that the family sticks together to overcome the many obstacles facing them as individuals and as a whole. Divorce is not an option for the parents, leaving someone out of the everyday life of the family is not an option, and turning backs on troubled family members is not an option. The belief of the family that the main character, Olive, can win the "Little Miss Sunshine" pageant, despite the fact that she is obviously NOT the typical pageant contestant, is heartwarming. Olive has such a great sense of self-esteem that has been fostered by the members of her family.

In I Am Sam, the main character, Sam, (played superbly by Sean Penn) is a mentally challenged father trying to raise his normally developing seven-year old. The court system thinks Sam is not fit to raise his daughter, but the overwhelming love that Sam and his daughter share for each other overcomes even the skeptical social workers and court system. Others around them learn great truths about themselves and their families through the whole process.

Sticking with your family through thick and thin--a great lesson from two creative movies.

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