Monday, May 12, 2014


from here
When I was younger, I used to check my cupboards and underneath my bed every night to make sure all possible hiding places in my room were kidnapper-free. I’m sure I was on the fearful side even before I saw a segment on Derryn Hinch’s show about children being kidnapped, but the story and images stuck in my mind and kept me awake for hours over the years; I’d lie in bed listening out for strange noises and imagining myself being taken. I remember being terrified by Silence of the Lambs, which I somehow saw during primary school. I can’t remember where or exactly how old I was, but I still remember scenes from that movie and how scared I felt while watching it even though it’s been over 20 years now since I saw it.

Now that I’m grown up I censor what I see; I avoid anything that looks too violent or scary or distressing (and my threshold for what’s classified as ‘too’ is quite low). I don’t worry about being kidnapped anymore, but I do regularly imagine bad things happening to me or the people I love, and those thoughts are unpleasant enough with even my limited repertoire of Yukky Things That Could Happen; I don’t need movies giving me any more ideas, or adding gory graphics to the ideas I already have. My brain locks onto those situations in films or TV shows that disturb me the most and makes me picture it repeatedly and wonder how I’d act or respond if I was there, if that were me. It’s twisted, yes, and even I don’t completely understand it, but at least I know how to help myself now, and so there are whole genres of film or TV that I won’t even consider watching, no matter how classic or clever or critically acclaimed.


Because I have such vivid memories of things I wish I hadn’t seen, or at least hadn’t seen so early in life, I’m quite cautious when it comes to introducing movies for Moses to watch. I figure he has many years ahead of him to learn about the world and to start having fears (and nightmares), and so while he’s 3 he can just watch movies that don’t say very much about very much; my search term while looking for potential films to show him (for those days when he’s sick or it’s too rainy to be bothered doing anything more than lying around like vegetables) was ‘benign’.

We let Mo see Cars but he didn’t really get into it, and then we tried Babe, with the same result. And then I did more googling and decided we should watch Mary Poppins, which I loved when I was young. Turns out, IT’S STILL GOLD, and Moses loves it too. It means he now refers to me sometimes as “Madam” and sings “Well done, Sister Suffragettes” while walking around Westfield, but this I can cope with.

More recently, we watched the start of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but after I mentioned that the car comes across some pirates in the movie (it says this on the back cover, I don’t actually remember it), Moses told me he thought that sounded a bit scary and decided he was too young for that kind of thing and probably shouldn’t watch any more. I told him it was an old kids’ movie, I was sure it wouldn’t be very scary at all, but he wasn’t interested in my opinion anymore (I had just tried to show him a movie with pirates in it, so obviously I could no longer be trusted) and we never saw the end.


  1. How about the Disney version of Robin Hood? It used to be my favourite animated movie as a child. I knew it off by heart!

  2. Have you tried Ponyo? It's pretty cute and age appropriate, though it does have some storms and weird sea creatures. All the other Miyazaki films are awesome too, but for older kids.

  3. Ooh, we haven't seen either of those - thanks for the recommendations! There are a few Disney ones that look good (I know we used to enjoy The Sword in the Stone, although I can't remember anything about it).

    Mo doesn't watch movies often (he's not the best at sitting for long [long, as in anything over 20 minutes] chunks of time), so when we need one I generally check the library and choose from what's there.

  4. Yes, Abel has never lasted a movie - he managed about 20 mins of Ponyo!