In the pale sun of a Saturday afternoon, we trod along the river to a cinema by its bank to watch the newly released ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’. If, by chance, you had met us walking back with our long shadows, and noticed our light footfalls and the slight glow in our faces, you would not be mistaken in thinking the family, one and all, had enjoyed themselves.
Indeed, we had enjoyed ourselves — the trip to the cinema, and the movie “The Huntsman, Winter’s War”. ‘We’ was my husband and me, my 12-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son.
It was later in the day, when I searched online for an image of the movie for the Facebook post I intended to share with my friends, that I was appalled to read all the loud critical voices.
“the follow-up that nobody much wanted to the film that nobody much liked”
“spectacular costumes and impressive special effects can’t compensate for the tired story, which never justifies its existence.”
“This handsome follow-up seems to have been meticulously designed to please nobody.”
“badly told and badly made”
“It wastes all its talent”
“this dreary and incoherent CGI mashup of plots from Frozen, Narnia and The Incredibles really cannot justify its existence”
I could not help but feel sympathy for the creators of the movie. With a 6.2/10 IMDB rating and over 3400 votes, it didn’t in any way seem like the dreary, dull movie that every critic was talking about. Many viewers enjoyed it, as did I.
We are in a networked era where everything is subject to the scrutiny of faceless reviewers and critics. No matter whether it’s a movie, a book, or a blog. How often we stand there: cringing suddenly, doubting whether our own sense can still be trusted. Often what we should be able to enjoy becomes the source of guilt and trepidation.
To find one’s own voice and position in the hustle and bustle of today’s ever-present social media is difficult for many. But don’t be disheartened, as long as we maintain the serenity of our hearts, like an island in a stormy sea, and stay true to our own authenticity, we will endure and remain the way we should be.
Let’s finish with one of Aesop’s fables:
The Father and His Daughters
A man had two daughters. One married a gardener and the other a potter. After a while he missed them and decided he would pay them a visit. So he went, first to the gardener’s wife. He looked at her fondly and asked her many questions a loving father would ask: how things were going with the house, with herself, and with her husband. She replied by and large they were doing well. “But,” she continued, “how I wish we could have some heavy rain. The gardens want it badly.”
After that the man went to see the potter’s wife. As an even-handed father he put to her the same queries. She replied that there was nothing to complain of, neither herself, nor her husband. “But,” she added, “we do wish for some lovely dry weather to dry the pottery.”
The man looked at his daughter incredulously for a moment or two. Then he said with a chuckle: “You want dry weather, and your sister wants rain. I was going to ask in my prayers for your wishes. Now I’d better drop the matter.”
The father cannot please both daughters, neither can we delight everyone. Stay true to your own ideas, go forward and enjoy.