When I was little, my brother and I used to be big on movies. Our parents would drive us down to our local Blockbusters and let us pick a couple of movies to rent. And we honestly attempted to conquer the entire kids section worth of movies. In my defense, I also attempted to conquer the entire room of kid books in my local library too, to the point at which I had to actually venture out of the kid’s room and wander the rest of the library.
Maybe that’s another part of my childhood that I’m quite amazed at, how I managed to get through so many movies as a kid and still have time to do other stuff as well. And my friends knew it too, that I watched maybe far too much movies. ‘Cause I remember during one sleepover I woke up early and joined the rest of the kids to watch a movie in the morning only to hear one of the girls tell me in a probably joking (but what I took back then to be a really mean) tone, “Go back to sleep, you’ve probably watched this already!”
So here is my pick of movies that have just stood out as part of my childhood and the child stars I grew up with:
1. Matilda (1996)
Mara Wilson’s movies were a go to when I was a little girl, I tried my best to watch all of them, Mrs. Doubtfire, Miracle on 34th Street, A Simple Wish and, especially, Matilda. There was always something about Matilda that made me relate – which I bet was Roald Dahl’s intention in creating the story to begin with; horrible teachers with unspeakable punishments, parents that did not seem to understand you, and the chance to escape all of it to a life that was so much better.
2. The Little Princess (1939)
When I was little, I had a box set of Shirley Temple movies and The Little Princess was definitely my favourite and I used to watch it over and over again; especially after my class got to do our year-end concert on Pinocchio and Shirley Temple and sing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” (and I was sadly chosen to be a Pinocchio and not a Shirley Temple which I was very upset about ’cause the Shirley Temples got to wear such beautiful white dresses and I was there in brown overalls and a bun).
3. The Secret Garden (1993)
Just another awesome movie. At the back of my house in Australia there was a really seclusive patch of grass and flowers and trees, and I used to use that place as my secret garden and pretend I was Mary. I once found a really rusty and ancient key around my house once (which I actually still have) and I imagined that it opened the gate to a secret place.
4. Charlotte’s Web (1973)
I really loved the older version of Charlotte’s Web. I really loved the songs such as There Must Be Something More, Zuckerman’s Famous Pig and the heartwrenching Mother Earth and Father Time. Heck, it was an amazing movie if it made me feel so sad to watch a spider die and all the animals grow old.
5. FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
Yup, we’re going through the animated films now and it’s a fact, when I look back on it, that I didn’t watched many Disney films when I was a kid. I’d watch The Swan Princess, Thumbelina, Balto, The Land Before Time and The Magic Flute (an animated film so obscure that apparently IMDb does not have it there, wow). FernGully was a love-hate relationship when I was a kid. I loved the fairies and the message of saving the rainforest, but I was terrified like crazy by the villain, Hexxus, a horrifice image of oil, sludge and skeletal bones. I had to choose between the story and the nightmares Hexxus caused afterwards.
At the end of the day, these movies were less about fantasy princesses, but characters placed in circumstances that took bravery and strength to overcome. Their happy endings were never determined by a prince to save the day, but perseverance in the face of hardship. Those were the movies that made me relate to the protagonist and love it when in the end they find their happiness.
Till next time!