Alice

Having noticed that the word “muchness” is written over my desk in very large letters, a friend just emailed me and commented that she “presumes you are a fan” and “would you mind writing what you thought of the movie or the book?” My friend is correct. I am a fan. Not only is “muchness” written on one wall,  but “curiouser” is written on the other, next to a large dripping clock that my dad painted on posterboard for me. There is more Wonderland paraphernalia all over the room.

I’m not going to do a movie review, a book review, or a comparison because none of them will quite include the things I want to say … For those who have not seen the movie, it is a sequel, not a re-telling of the original story, so I can’t say anything about whether it’s “true to the book.” (It isn’t supposed to be.) For those who haven’t read the book, you ought to. But I’m going to focus more on quotes from the movie in this post.

On a quick side note, I heard that there were some people who skipped the movie because “Johnny Depp is annoying.” With all due respect to the fine people this opinion represents: he speaks gibberish better than you do. http://www.cinematical.com/2010/03/04/johnnys-gibberish-depp-is-a-cunning-linguist/

If you can remember what we were discussing before that diversion…. Tim Burton’s film is chock-full of color, creativity, and character. But amidst all the whimsy, the thing that stood out to me most from Alice in Wonderland was the real-life insight and perspective. Here are some of my favorite moments from the film, and what they represented to me.

Young Alice: Have I gone mad?

Her uncle: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.

All the best people are. I honestly believe this to some extent. Nobody ever accomplished anything wonderful without getting a few strange looks early on. Noah built the ark in the middle of a dry land. Joshua led an army to march around a city blowing their trumpets, believing the walls would fall. C.S. Lewis spent most of his childhood living out the adventures of an imaginary world called Boxen. Don’t be afraid of “seeming weird.” If you have different priorities, a different vocation, different interests, or different inspiration, embrace it.

Mad Hatter: You used to be much more … muchier. You’ve lost your muchness.

Face it: the world likes you better if you’re average. It makes everyone feel more comfortable about their failures and shortcomings. But you were not made to be part of the mediocre masquerade. Muchness doesn’t happen by believing in yourself, because your “self” likes the ease of average-ness. Believe in something greater than yourself, something much “muchier” than you. Be courageous. Unhealthy fear holds us back from so many great accomplishments and experiences. If you’re scared, do it scared. But muchness doesn’t come from doing weird things just to show that you have the guts. It comes from doing things that matter, showing quality that counts for something, standing for those who can’t. You don’t have to wear a cape to defend truth and justice.

Alice: I’ll be back before you know it.

Hatter: You won’t remember me.

Alice: Of course I will. How could I forget?

I think one of our greatest dreads in life is the idea of being forgotten or left behind by someone we love. It’s inevitable — people walk away, run away, drive away, ride away, fall away, and we can’t stop them. Sometimes there are hard feelings, sometimes not. Sometimes they make empty promises. When someone leaves, there is always a chance, even a probability, that he/she will not remember you. He won’t always remember the things you did for him. She’ll forget that you were her best friend. He might not even care.

Though it is unpleasant to think of oneself as “forgettable,” even to someone you care about, “being remembered” is not the point. The point is that while you have this person, you show him unconditional love whether she’s going to remember it or not. Maybe you were sent into her life to do one thing. It doesn’t matter whether she cares. Do what you know is right. Do what God is calling you to do. And if she’s going to forget, let her. That is no excuse for leaving anything undone.

That was quite a bit of elaboration on just a few lines — please excuse my wordiness. Whenever I watch movies, I try to look beneath the surface for insight and deeper meaning. If there are any other moments from the film that stood out to you, leave a comment!

If you have not yet seen the film, I recommend it. Trailer below.

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2 thoughts on “Alice

  1. Hmm, I wanted to see the movie before, but mostly just out of curiousity (and with some apprehension, as I really don’t know what to expect judging from the trailers). But now, I guess I have a real reason to see it! I think its great that you try to look for a deeper meaning beneath the surface of the movies you watch, and you gave some great insight into those lines from the movie. (and yes, Johnny Depp is amazing, and yes he is entirely bonkers. But hey, all the best people are…)

  2. I cannot remember many quotes from the movie, as I’ve only seen it once and that a while ago, but I’d have to say my favorite is “Off with his head!” :)

    Your insights on those wonderful quotes were quite excellent and inspiring, Noelle. And the movie was so very good… but it struck some deep and strange emotional chords in me in such a way that has caused me to vow not to watch it again. It’s too painfully wonderful and wild and heroic and nostalgic. Or something. I’m not exactly sure. :) But in any case, great post, thanks for writing on this, Noelle!

    And the Depp gibberish video was very cool. :D

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