Yes; it is.

This has been here since shortly before Christmas, it didn’t get published – not because it not a really good article – but because we simply ran out of slots. Anyway, it’s just as valid today as it was then so enjoy. Neo.

As there are twelve days of Christmas, I’m going to push your patience a bit and have a little discussion of the old movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I saw that! – you just rolled your eyes, didn’t you? Don’t deny it – I caught you dead to rights. Anyway …

A couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying the yearly series “A Carol A Day”, written by Margaret Ashworth, a staff writer for The Conservative Woman UK. Along with the ‘backstory’ of the carol writer, and often times the words of the carols, she selects the most delightful samples of YouTube videos that relate to the carols. I highly recommend you go to that site – you can go back to December 1st and catch up or just enjoy the carol of the day. One of the carols she posted caused some interesting comments (below the line, as they say) and some of those comments got me going. Not in a good way.

Some of the TCW commenters hate It’s a Wonderful Life and proceed to share their mean-spirited appraisal of the movie. While some make valid – though obvious – points about the unrealistic portrayal of the characters and insist that if it were honest, the way the movie should go is ‘insert your objections here’. I just sort of bristled a minute or two and then moved on – as you do (a delightful English expression I may have to adopt).

Then, my very dear English friend, my Alys, sent me the link to an article in The Critic https://thecritic.co.uk/its-a-wonderful-life-the-perfect-christmas-film/

It’s meant to be supportive but it doesn’t quite reach its goal. To me, anyway. There’s just something missing from the article. It may warmth; it may be heart. I suspect what’s missing is heart.

First of all – in case you haven’t figured it out yet – IAWL is a work of fiction. Fiction means it is not true. But because something is not true, we are not prevented from taking a lesson from it. There is a great message in this film and especially important – I would think – in this time of me-ism. It is, after all, all about me, isn’t it? Hmmm – one wonders. In any event, we learn what we do has an effect in the world – like the thrown stone causes concentric ripples on the water. Truly no man is an island unto himself. Cast your bread upon the water and it will come back a hundred fold*

The big part of the movie that the Critic’s writer misses is the biggest part of what makes the movie. In his article, the writer says that the angel, Clarence, gives George Bailey the ability to see what life would be like without him; that’s wrong. The scene that matters is the one that shows the night sky with twinkling stars and the audience hears a discussion between God and St. Peter. God hears the prayers of the family and friends of George Bailey and sets about making things right. God and St. Peter choose Clarence, a not very effectual angel who needs help to get his wings, to accompany George on the journey he’s about to take. Clarence is there as a sort of haphazard “Behold, I bring you great tidings”. It is Clarence’s job to help George see what is most important in his life. Unless people understand that it is God ordained for this to happen to George, it’s very easy to pick apart the rest of the film’s premise.

I know you’ll be grateful that I’m not going to go through the whole movie – I’ve already spoken about what’s most important. But I do want you to consider your own life. Simple things we’ve done for others, without their knowing or without them having to ask. These are the things that make our lives wonderful. We didn’t think long and hard about them, we just did them, sort of spur of the moment or an opportunity presented itself. Or perhaps – just maybe – you answered a prayer. I call them ‘Holy Spirit moments’; seemingly coincidental moments when you did something good for someone without even thinking about it. Answered prayer.

My prayer is that your life is sprinkled with these lovely acts and that you acknowledge that you’ve done good in the world. Not to take pride in them but to be grateful that at that moment, you did a good and wonderful thing. For someone else.

*Ecclesiastes 11:1

15 Responses to Yes; it is.

  1. Alys Williams says:

    I have only watched IAWL once and that was several years ago so it is a bit vague for me. I think you are correct in your analysis Audre and disgruntled Brits who see it as maudlin or over sentimentalised are missing the point.

    Your final two paragraphs tell us how we don’t have to make grand gestures but it is the small acts of kindness and generosity that can make huge differences to someone else’s life, and to our own.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. JessicaHoff says:

    Loved this, and we can all make it better for each other by small acts of kindnesses 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  3. 39 Pontiac Dream says:

    An excellent movie I once reviewed giving it a mark of 5 stars minus a millimetre – that saccharine bit where Bailey’s youngest utters ‘every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings’ makes me want Clarence to come back and turf that annoying little sweat stain off the bridge that her father contemplated jumping off. I get the same feeling when I hear Tiny Tim (A Christmas Carol) say ‘God bless us, every one’ – I just want the little urchin turfed into the workhouses! 🙂

    The story is brilliant though, the cast work well together, it has the Capra magic dusted over every scene and I love the romance at the start – ‘I can lasso the moon for ya.’ Who wouldn’t want their bloke to hand the heavens to them?

    The most wonderful thing about the film is it shows the best of us and how we affect those around us. The scenario which shows the town had Bailey not existed is harsh, uncompromising, cynical and dark. Bailey really does have an impact on these people and how they behave and that’s lovely. A good lesson in manners for some.

    Liked by 2 people

    • audremyers says:

      What can I say? I have a sweet tooth – I actually like the ‘saccharine’.

      Liked by 2 people

      • 39 Pontiac Dream says:

        Tina and I both love that film but differ on that bit. She says I’m a heartless, well, best not to be repeated here, and I say the little tyke is annoying. Then again, I’m not a big fan of kids in movies. They tend to be cast artificially. That is to say, they usually physically reflect the character and you get that in their performance. It’s not often you get kids in movies that you can relate to. One of the best examples of kids being kids is The Goonies. They swear, they take the mick, yet their innocence is still there for all to see. I much prefer that to saccharine.

        Liked by 2 people

        • audremyers says:

          Watch ‘Stranger Things’ on Netflix. GREAT kid actors! The fact that I have a ‘thing’ for the sheriff, “Hop”, has nothing to do with my love for that series. (wink) But it’s really up your alley, so to speak, as it is spooky.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. 39 Pontiac Dream says:

    If we go the Netflix way, Audre, we’ll probably end up watching stuff on catchup – the BBC are getting no more of our money. Stranger Things sounds quite interesting and there’s another show on there that seems interesting too – The Platform. That said, Tina’s anti Netflix since they engage in blasphemy (one of their shows depicted Jesus as gay) and I’m sure I remember reading, not too long ago, that they have a show called Cuties which normalises paedophilia. We’ll have to see.

    Hope you’re well and keeping Lon out of trouble. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • audremyers says:

      Stranger Things is complete on Netflix – not something you have to watch ‘serially’, if there is such a word, lol. It’s a very good story and the kids are very natural. The only ‘stinker’ is Winona Ryder – woman couldn’t act her way out of paper bag but in this one instance, her poor acting actually seems to reinforce a woman under incredible stress. I like the series very much; I’ve watched it probably four times. It’s that good that you can watch again and different things pop up that weren’t noticed the previous views.

      I had a debate with myself about those same issues. Free speech – they can offer anything they want to, I just don’t ever watch the objectional things.

      For Tina’s artist side, Netflix has an excellent show “Blown Away” – it’s a competition for hand blown glass artists. Some of the pieces are stunning!

      Liked by 2 people

      • 39 Pontiac Dream says:

        My word, you and Tina really do have a lot in common – she detests Winona Ryder and thinks much the same as you. I’m inclined to agree but she has been in some good films – good despite her. I quite enjoy the film A Scanner Darkly which features two actors who Tina would call the worst in the business – Keanu Reeves AND Winona Ryder but yet again, the film is good despite them. I have had recent misgivings on Keanu though – his voice acting in the last Toy Story film took the life away from that character – it might as well have been a wooden toy rolled about by another animated character.

        I’ll mention Blown Away to Tina. I know she quite enjoys programmes like that. We used to watch the Great Pottery Challenge on the BBC before we quit the license fee and she really loved that. Of course, with catchup, we can get George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces on More4 which both of us enjoy for its creativity. If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it. One of their selection, which you might be able to find on Youtube, has a bunch of blokes building pubs at the end of their garden – Lon would love that! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • audremyers says:

          Geez louise!!! Don’t give him any ideas!

          I like Keanu Reeves – but in Devil’s Advocate (with Al Pacino); excellent scary movie.

          I sort of have to wait for Netflix to pick up BBC programs but I’ll keep an eye out for it.

          Liked by 2 people

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