A Review: Into the Woods, Are You Paying Attention to the Lure?
Into the Woods
Introduction to Into The Woods
The cinematography of, Into the Woods is exquisite, capturing a graphic depiction of the Grimm Fairy Tales. We know them to be dark, yet in this portrayal, there are some interesting twists. While not for children, this film does have the ability to engage adults in a conversation about the positives and negatives of this world, or "Woods" we currently live.
The introduction of the movie begins with a build-up of the Grimm Fairy Tales, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Rapunzel, tales all told through the intertwining story of a baker and his barren wife. The couple while in love, are living under an old family curse that would leave them without the desire of their hearts, to have children of their own. The witch who placed the curse appears to them in their bakery offering a solution that sends them into the woods on a quest to seek particular items that would grant them their wish to reverse the lifelong curse.
Each tale demonstrates a dark realism. Dark, in that this movie does not leave out the grim, of the Grimm Fairy Tales. For example, the devious Witch is quite scary for children. The ugly stepsisters are quite aloof, insensitive and greatly spoiled. Their desperation prevalent by the cutting of their toes to fit a shoe the prince presents when seeking his princess.
The wolf is, of course, sly, in the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, and the realness of being swallowed up and cut from the belly of a wolf is not easier because grandmother is in there with her. Little Red Riding Hood is not like the biblical story of Jonah, but rather a horrific experience that is indeed a fairy tale. It is doubtful that Little Red Riding Hood would come out unscathed in a new coat made of fur.
Allowing us to pretend is what tales do, they stretch the imagination, allowing the story to take on a different meaning by the individual viewer.
Be careful what you wish for...
Be careful what you wish for...
The movie has its sweet spots engaging one to believe that everything will work out, but does it? The prolog unfolds the fairy tales. Each tale presents the idea of making a wish but being careful what you wish. While the music is entertaining, the beginning of the movie is what one would expect from the Grimm Fairy Tales. However, the twist comes after the wedding of Cinderella to her prince. In this scene, it appears that everyone has gotten what they wished for, but this isn’t the end of the movie!
The next part of the movie has a destructive entry back into the woods where the characters in the stories face the reality of their choices. They were willing to do anything to get what they wanted. When they had it, they began to self-destruct because they weren’t satisfied. It demonstrates how one person making a wrong decision can start a ripple effect causing havoc on the entirety of the wood.
I referred to some that the movie had biblical points. But, many will misconstrue the reason for this comment. My thought was the need to infer the biblical references rather than have them cited. A deep sadness came over me while watching the film. Realizing a connection with the woods and the enticing world of sin where we live. The wishes of greed, sloth, envy, coveting, adultery, violence interfere.
I became enlightened as I saw the precious stories from the Bible somehow used in misleading and subtle ways. Jack used a slingshot and a rock to kill the giant. Little Red Riding Hood met the wolf and strayed from the path of her mother's instructions. The wolf swallows Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother, yet, they return to safety with release from the belly of the wolf with lessons learned.
Does this get anyone else’s attention, remember David and Goliath, the story of Jonah? David was small in stature, and still able to conquer the much more massive Goliath, with the grace of God and a rock. Jonah didn’t follow the instructions from God straying from the path discounting instruction and ending up in the belly of a whale. The whale spat, Jonah released to resume the original way God had chosen for him, and we know Red became free from the belly of the wolf, whew!
In the score of the movie there’s the song “You Are Not Alone,” you can choose what’s right, and we can, but do we? How do we find ourselves entrapped in the woods relying on this world? Why do we compare ourselves to other people’s choices rather than depending on the script of our creator? This movie can simulate biblical stories, but we must infer the biblical interpretation. You must seek Christ in all things knowing you're not alone. Where do you find the solace for your aloneness? How about trying another analysis of the woods?
You are not alone
You are not alone in the woods there is one watching over you always!
You are not alone, but who do you put your faith in?
While this song is beautifully sweet showing care for others, it's sad that the message is glorifying people. My thought is yes, no one is alone. However, it isn’t the people we should depend on, and they are apt to disappoint as in the movie, but instead place our trust in God who is with us. Again one must infer a Christian meaning, or we see reliance on the world rather than the light of Christ available to all of us.
The woods are a dark, dreary place, you may feel alone, without a faith in God which untangles the woods. Nonetheless, God is there in the woods. Rely on Him and be careful what you wish. You aren’t alone; we can rely on one another as long as we have faith in the power of God more magnificent than any entanglement in the woods.
Stay With Me.
Stay with me...
For parents, this movie has so much to offer, great insight into how we depict the woods for our children. We must trust that once we have taught them the way they should go, God has us release them "Into the Woods."
There is a harsh reality in the song “Stay With Me.” As a Christian, I know God loves them more than I, and yet the pride of the woods is binding to a mother’s heart. Letting go is never easy unless I trust that this world is for a moment. I am mindful that the trek into the woods is a path to our forever home. Knowing this allows a release as I watch my children go "Into the Woods." There is a wonderment in watching them untangle themselves with the grace of God.
As a parent, we too can become entrapped. We sometimes lose our way in the darkness, making mistakes, not being careful what we wish for, forgetting we're never alone. Often it's our family and friends, that help us find our way back to the path. They remind us of who we are in Christ, and we need to give thanks for that accountability.
"Princes wait there in the wood it's true, Princes yes, but wolves and humans too." I am one of those humans, humbled by my reflection in the woods. I feel blessed to know that I am not alone there, no one is, and thus surrender comes with a bittersweetness.
Children do listen, and if taught love as God loves, they will continue to learn and share what they know while helping others through the woods. This mother's heart will ache as they go, but the ache will dissipate to an awesome joy in understanding what is on the other side.
A different thought process on Into the Woods
This writing is my two cents on into the woods. I have enjoyed the Grimm Fairy Tales, and I grew up with them. I was able to dream of my future prince, learn from the interpretations along the way. Sometimes these stories were used to help teach the ideas of right and wrong, good and evil. I was frightened at times by the tales and even embarrassed at my occasional behaviors that simulated the not so sweet characters. These characters made me think and work toward changing for the better.
When raised in a home where the stories of the Bible was a constant I could relate and see God using all things in my life. I wonder, what might the story have taught us had the woods not overtaken the characters? What might have happened, if instead of getting tangled in a mess of destruction, they sought out directly from the Holy Spirit? What if they were not focused on their single wish, but instead trusted their life design is for a purpose that was not for them to decide? What if they hadn't strayed from the path or one another? What if they hadn't stolen, lusted or given into greed? I can hear Our Father in heaven singing the phrase, "Children won't listen." I suppose it all depends on the books you read and how you interpret the stories.
I love a good movie. I'm not a prude by any means, but I love God so genuinely that I see most things in the way they relate or do not relate, to the word of God. Some will agree, many will not, and that’s okay. If you do nothing else, please listen to the last song I have posted here, "You are not alone." There is someone who wants your heart, it's not a guy, not a prince, not a girl, not a princess, it is a King, and He is fantastic! He will help you through the woods.
Blessings to you as you travel through the woods and peace in your stages.