I’m going to give you a very honest opinion that you might or might not like. This month we’ve seen two new movies: Despicable Me and Toy Story 3. Our favorite, hands down, is Despicable Me. I know, it’s a strong statement to give, because Toy Story is a classic, but we laughed over and over while watching Gru and his Army of Minions. It wasn’t full of scary moments, but more with silly moments children can relate to.
Read that closely. It wasn’t full of scary moments, but more with silly moments children can relate to. This is not the case for BlogHer writer Jenna Hatfield, who feels the theme of the movie IS scary to adoptive families and the theme? Just plain despicable.
I regularly read articles on BlogHer that interest me, however, I don’t actively participate on the site through comments, writing, or such. I clicked on Jenna’s article because after being asked to the advance screening of Despicable Me (and absolutely loving it), I wanted to see what other families think of the movie. Her title? “Despicable Me’s Despicable Theme”
Tell me, if you were the reader what would you think by simply seeing the title of her post? I can tell you that I, immediately, thought this is a woman who watched the movie and hated it. It sounded like a review and that’s why it garnered a click-through from me. Then I read the first paragraph which intrigued me to know and understand why she felt so strongly to say she is not going to watch it:
The movie Despicable Me has an adoption theme. Apparently it handles it in a “good” way, though I hesitate calling it good when we teach our children that you need someone or something else to make you act like a good human being. Anyway, we’re not seeing it, whether or not the message ends up on the good side.
The movie is automatically on her “Do Not Watch List” due to what she’s heard others say about it. Granted, she has experiences in adoption that warrants her “Cautionary Momma Sense”, but it gives me, the reader, the automatic urge to throw the rest of her opinion and post out the window having no real credible sway. Why? Because she hasn’t seen the movie to make sense of any of her assumptions, that it portrays orphans and adoption in a negative light, let alone write about how despicable it is.
Does Despicable Me portray adoption and orphanage negatively?
Reading her post and the others she quoted, it got me thinking Does this movie portray adoption negatively? I, first, needed to examine how I would come to the conclusion of that question. I can’t. The truth is….
I’m not adopted.
Nobody in my family is adopted.
Nobody in my family HAS adopted.
Nobody in my family has given children up for adoption.
My children aren’t adopted.
I only know of one friend who has gone through the adoption process.
She mentions this after hearing about the “Dog Bowl Scene”:
I’m sorry. Did you just say “Box of Shame?” Shame?! And dog bowls? I’m not really certain that I care if the movie ends up on the good side of the fence. I cannot imagine exposing my children to such atrocities.
Atrocities. Now that’s a strong word to describe a scene she has yet to see in a movie she says she will NEVER see, at least until her family is ready. I will admit, I thought the Box of Shame was horrible. In fact, I was sure my children would have questions about it, but they didn’t. I think the movie could have left that part out.
My children saw the orphanage as a place no child should be in and that’s what made Gru’s adoption that much more sweet and applause worthy. Although he started off with the wrong intention, you see how he grows into parenthood.
Yes. He started off by putting down newspaper to “pee” or “poo”. Yes, he laid dog bowls next to that paper, but did you see what was in those bowls? Candy. I’m almost positive ANY child who sees candy laying around is going to delight in the fact that it’s there. It’s for them and it doesn’t matter how it’s served up. Right?
All joking aside, this scene makes the movie into what it is, because it shows how Gru knows nothing about children or parenting, but he learns, he grows, and he loves like he’s never loved before. In comparison to those two scenes you see him:
– Dance in the kitchen and make pancakes for his daughters.
– Tuck them into bed.
– Read them bedtime stories.
– Take them to ballet.
– Pinky Promise
– Give in to the request of going to the theme park.
– Ride the RollerCoaster with them.
– Stick up for them.
– Win his youngest the unicorn of her dreams (SO FLUFFY!)
– Fight the evil super villain Vector to get them back.
– And discover a love he never knew existed in that heart of his.
All of the sweet loving things he does for his children outnumber the first mistake of “dog bowls” 100 to 1. Seriously. In the end movie goers will see that the love of a parent, adoptive or not, is stronger than you can imagine. Stronger than any super villain.
A few last thoughts:
I had to laugh reading Jennna say “she’ll just stick with Toy Story”. Righhhhhht.
Toy Story 3 had my 3-year-old scared, my 8-year-old making excuses to go to the bathroom, and Momma creeped out. Way out. There was no “feel good” when you see Big Baby walking around ready to pummel you to the ground on his (or is it a her?) night shift round. Oh and the gang playing poker? C’mon. Not really family friendly in my opinion. There was so much violence and scenes of fear, I would not really want to “stick” with this one.
Oh, and although I don’t agree with Jenna on Despicable Me, we do have one thing in common. We’re both mothers and we both know what our children can or can not handle. I heard so many great things about Toy Story 3 I didn’t think one bit to do a little more research. While watching scenes, I turned to my son and knew, in my heart, it was scary for him to watch. So, in hindsight, I should have researched Toy Story 3 a little more prior to taking my children as Jenna has done with Despicable Me.
All families are different and most will have varying opinions due to the need of protecting our children, so I applaud Jenna for sticking to her “Momma Gut” about not watching this movie, but I sure am glad we got to enjoy it.
I really want to know:
Have you seen the movie?
Do you think it portrays adoption in a negative light?
Do you think it’s okay for families of adoption to watch?
Most importantly, what would YOU do with a fart gun? 🙂
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