Gratitude is the sign of noble souls ~ Aesop

Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving ~ Kahlil Gabran

Joy delights in joy ~ William Shakespeare

Monday, April 25, 2016

Pollyanna's Playbook

I was taken off guard the other day when during a discussion about my favorite Oscar nominated movie this year, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, a friend of mine commented: “It was good – up until the Pollyanna ending.”  And so, Dear Reader, I just have to ask… what’s so bad about POLLYANNA?  Granted, the first time I saw the 1960 Disney classic on television with my mom, by the end, I stomped out of the room crying that I would never trust my mother to pick out the Sunday night movie again.  It absolutely shattered me.  How could a young girl, who had never been anything but good and kind, be so unfairly rewarded for her optimism with possible paralysis?  And how could the movie end without letting us know if she was going to be okay?  “It’s not fair!” I shouted.  To which I received the standard parental platitude, “Well, honey, life’s not fair.”  My mother tried to explain to me that the story wasn’t just about the one girl, Pollyanna, but about all of the lives that one girl changed. “Look how much better those people’s lives are now because of her.”  But I didn’t care about the other people.  Other people didn’t matter!  Or…did they? 

That question settled deep down inside, and at that moment, something in me began to change.  There were other people in the world!  Other people with their own lives and their own hopes and their own pain.  The movie wasn’t just about Pollyanna – and maybe life wasn’t just about me.  Pollyanna helped me to see that optimism is not for the faint of heart.  That goodness takes courage.  She taught me that each act of kindness can envelop pain and precipitate beauty, just as a snowflake forms around a spec of dust.  Finally, Pollyanna showed me that it’s those “other people” who will be there to help you when life isn’t fair to you.  Which brings me back to SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and the realization that my friend was right – it does have a “POLLYANNA” ending.  Sure, Jennifer Lawrence is a much edgier version of Hayley Mills, but she shares the same can-do attitude that transforms the lives of the “other people” she encounters by coaxing them out of their own private hell of isolation and giving them something to hope for…together.  And that is something both movies do well – they both show the indomitable power of hope.   As Bradley Cooper’s character Pat says, “The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday. That's guaranteed. I can't begin to explain that. Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else. But guess what? Sunday's my favorite day again. I think of what everyone did for me, and I feel like a very lucky guy.”  How very Pollyanna of him…

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