(Mes amis francophone, désolé mais nous sommes en vacances et je ne veux pas embêter Mme pendant ses vacances pour travailler sur mes traductions. Pendant nos vacances mon blog sera sans une traduction françaises.)
I am flying over the middle of the US as I write this. I enjoy flying to the US from France because I can see movies that I didn’t have a chance to see when they came out. We only have one small cinema near us and most movies are dubbed in French. So I don’t go to see them.
On my Friday flight between Paris and Philadelphia I saw three movies: “Last Vegas”, with Robert DeNiro, Michale Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline, which I really enjoyed. It’s funny and is a nice story of friendship and forgivenss.
I also saw “Philomena”, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, a very touching movie based on the true story of an unmarried Irish teenager who gets herself pregnant and her father sends her to give birth in a convent. After giving birth she must work for the convent for four years to pay the cost of the birth. She has to work 7 days a week and she can only see her son for one hour a week. Then the convent puts her son up for adoption and his is adopted by an American couple without her being informed beforehand. Fifty years later she wants to find out how he is and gets a journalist to help her. A shocking story but this woman is able to forgive the Catholic nuns and touches the heart of the cynical, hardened journalist.
And the third movie was “Saving Mr. Banks” with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, the story of how Walt Disney managed to bring Mary Poppins to the screen despite the hesitation of Pamela Travers, the author of the books, to give him the right to do it.
When this film came out I remember seeing comments on Facebook about how bad Walt Disney was. I don’t remember the exact terms used but macho was one of them. I just didn’t see it when watching this movie. He was no more macho than men in general in the early 60s and probably a lot less than many.
I did not at all see Walt Disney as a bad guy in this movie. Rather I saw him as an example, a man who was capable of loving his enemies. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly?” And I think we have all experienced that this is not an easy thing to do.
When he explained to Mrs. Travers about his relationship with his father, which was anything but easy, and that he had forgiven his father, she discovered that he was not at all the man she thought he was.
At another moment of the movie he was speaking with the scriptwriter about his early days in New York and how he had a difficult relationship with some powerful figure that he needed to work with. Within a certain period of time he had won the man over and was working with him.
And as the plot unfolds it’s clear that he’s struggling with Mrs. Travers but he’s never angry and judgmental about her, even when she’s doing everything she can to sabotage his project. He’s always trying to understand her. And when he does understand her, he goes to see her and explains how making this film can liberate her. He sincerely wanted to help her though the making of this film.
So to those who were so critical of Walt Disney after seeing this film, I would humbly suggest that you watch it again and go beyond what you perceive to be his macho character. There was so much more to Walt Disney than that in this movie.
All three movies touched the theme of forgiveness and loving your enemy. Maybe it’s just a coincidence but as Albert Einstein said, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”