The last 24 hours have been a very exciting time over here. Yesterday evening, Youngest Child had a sleepover. It didn’t take long for the wheels to start turning in the other two’s heads. We love Youngest very much, but her not being home spelled only one thing to her surviving sisters: they could have anything they wanted to eat for dinner without worry about allergies.* There were some wild debates – fried chicken, asian food, fish sticks, some weird amalgam of all three. Ultimately, as a family, it was agreed there was only one hope – IHOP, with pancakes made from eggs (we make amazing awesome pancakes with pumpkin or applesauce or bananas as egg substitutes, but in the end, it’s not quite the same thing) and a side of eggs to boot. We were gluttons in that regard.
And how did they want to spend the rest of their night? In a totally unexpected and geeky way – the call, nay, demand was made: The Princess Bride and Munchkin, followed by Zombie Munchkin. So say we all!
The funny thing is, watching the movie today (again, because having lost our copy years ago, we had to buy the streaming version last night), I was struck by a few things. First was how quickly the girls had zeroed in on what quotes were worth shouting with glee. Probably a subconscious influence from their old man, but they did pretty well. By today’s second showing, they were already quoting large sections of the movie. The other thing that struck me was how engaged they were in this action movie, which made me think about the “Princess” role (with bits of the whole Disney Princess discussion floating around in my mind).
The princess in the Princess Bride isn’t exactly a fighter, or self-sufficient, which is no doubt why my girls gravitate to the real stars of the movie, Inigo, Fessick, and Wesley. But at the same time, she isn’t a delicate flower unable to engage the world around her. When she believes herself kidnapped by the murderer of her true love, she takes action against him. When she believes that all hope in the world has been snuffed, she would rather take her own life than submit to Humperdink. And stepping a few scenes back from that, when she’s standing at the altar and can hear the fighting outside, there’s an iron strength in her eyes when she stares down the Prince and calls him out on his fear.
The Princess Bride is a classic. I know its comedy doesn’t appeal to all, and yet as a fan of the movie, it tickles me that my own girls relish the same things about the movie that I do. But beneath the banter and swashbuckling, I’m beginning to realize there’s a deeper story worth embracing. No, I don’t think Goldman set out to make a morality play to teach our youth, well, anything. But I think there’s something that can be learned from the underlying plot. Dogged pursuit and resolution are themes woven into the tale.
The question is can we handle a third viewing of the movie this weekend?
* For those not in the know, the Youngest Child has a few food allergies – nuts, tree nuts, all poultry, eggs, fish, etc., or as I like to joke, the left half of the food pyramid. We make do just fine, but it does limit things, for the kids in particular.
- Inconceivable! How ‘The Princess Bride’ almost didn’t get made (marquee.blogs.cnn.com)
- ‘The Princess Bride': Anything but ‘mostly dead’ in the hearts of viewers (news.blogs.cnn.com)
- Inconceivable (designmom.com)