Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Corinthian Sunshine

(Spoiler alert: scenes from LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE are discussed below. Oh, and while I am giving out warnings, LMS is R rated for a reason.)

This Lenten season, my small group has been focusing on St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, exploring the notion of “Hope: Seeing Through Tears.”

Our look included chapter three, where Paul talks about how G-d writes on our hearts, and it is He (and not ourselves) that makes us competent and ready for life. Paul goes on to say that with that knowledge, he behaves more boldly.

We got to discussing how we would approach life differently if we also saw ourselves through G-d-eyes. Which got me to thinking about LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE.

There is a scene at the motel before the family arrives at the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant, where Olive expresses her doubts to Grandpa – about both being a winner and being pretty enough. You know the scene – the one that guaranteed a slue of acting nominations for both Abigail Breslin and Alan Arkin.

Grandpa reassures Olive that she is already a winner, because no matter what, she gets to dance. And he tells her she is beautiful, that in fact he is hot for her (and not for her mind!).

It is a beautiful scene, and one that I didn’t get the depth of when I first watched it. And I know I didn’t get it because of how I felt during the pageant scenes.

I felt as Olive’s mom and dad and brother felt – fearful that this contest was going to crush the little girl; that she was going to realize that she wasn’t as pretty or as talented or as adult sexy as the other girls; that she had no hope of winning this contest.

I felt that Olive was going to be shown as a fool.

I have no excuse; Richard and Sheryl and Dwayne didn’t see the scene in the hotel room, so they can be excused. But I should have known better.

You see, Olive couldn’t be shown to be a fool by the pageant; nor could she discover that she wasn’t pretty or talented or sexy. Because the pageant folk didn’t have a vote in the matter – she already knew that she was beautiful, gifted and “hot” by her audience of one.

When she dances at the pageant, she dances in complete freedom and confidence; because she sees herself through her grandpas eyes.

And that is how Olive approaches life differently.

If only I could fully get that lesson.

I have already won, because no matter what, I get to dance.

Just my thoughts,



janet said...

Sean --

Thank you for reminding me again just why I love this movie so much.

Julia said...

Agreed. It was an awesome film with a good message.