One thing I find so cool about this movie is the emphasis that's placed on the value of life. Of people as individuals. Just plain, ordinary, every day people. The way they relate to one another and care for one another. And how each person makes such a huge difference in the lives of those around them.
First off, this scene. Ohhh. I love this scene! It's hilarious and at the same time so jam-packed with emotion. Here's George, grumpy as all get out, and Mary just bursting with suppressed hopes that here at last might be the moment when her childhood dream is realized. (She's loved George since she was a kid, you see, and now he's come to call on her, and boy! she's not letting the opportunity slip by her.)
What really stood out to me this time is how very much Mary loves George. I mean, it's pretty obvious, and I knew that before, but for some reason it really hit me this time. She's doing everything she can to get his attention in this scene and he rebuffs her every single time. ("Some joke, huh?") But when she finally loses her cool and tells him to leave, and he storms out of the house, she doesn't go and break that record because she's mad at George, she breaks it because she's so disappointed that things aren't working between them. She still loves him.
And a few minutes later, when she's talking on the phone to Sam Wainwright, and George comes stumping back in looking for his hat, she immediately perks up and makes one last desperate attempt to attract his attention by acting all excited to be talking to Sam. And it works, people. They're engaged by the end of the scene. Really, I just love how Mary is so in love with George...even when he's grumpy...and rude. Everyone of us ought to have someone who loves us like that. Someone who will love us despite all our quirks. And just go on loving us, no matter what.
This movie has so many good examples of people who care about others more than themselves. This comes across pretty strongly in the scene where George unleashes all his pent-up frustrations onto his family; when he yells at the kids, and begins smashing things in the house. It's absolute mayhem, and the family is shocked and hurt to see him acting this way. But then, when he finally walks out the door what do they do? What does his wife do?
Does she go and cry angry tears in a corner that her husband could be so unkind and unreasonable? Does she stand on the moral high ground and nurse feelings of ill-usage? No. She goes immediately to the telephone in order to find out what kind of trouble her husband is in. And the kids? Are they sitting in pitiful little bundles, feeling sorry for themselves? No. Their first thought is for their father, and him alone. "Is Daddy in trouble?" "Yes," replies the mother. "Should I pray for him?" "Yes, pray very hard."
They're concerned for him, not themselves. And that's where, in my opinion, this movie takes a step way beyond your average Hollywood movie, because more often than not in a typical movie this sort of situation would be the fuel for igniting that huffy, "poor me" attitude in the offended party. But in this movie everything else is forgotten in that one deep-rooted desire to make sure "Daddy is okay."
Another thought about this scene (and unfortunately the picture is really blurry, so sorry about that, but it's the best I could find). The object in the foreground is the object that George kicks over in his fury. I'd never really noticed it before. But look at it, people. It's a model bridge. This is clearly the section of the house where George is able to create, on a small scale, those bridges and skyscrapers he never got to create in real life. Those dreams he had of building and traveling and creating. He'd missed all of it. And now at this low point in his life the bitterness of what he's missed out on is coming to the surface again and he can't help but take his frustrations out on those objects which bring the remembrance of it so glaringly before him.
I'd never realized all that was going on in this scene before. And watching it this time my heart just broke for George. He's such a caring, unselfish individual. Time after time he's given up what he's wanted in order to fill the needs of someone else. And now life has thrown another bombshell at him, through no fault of his own. And it's just not fair, right?
It's true that living for others is not easy. And yet, as George learns by the end of the film, such a life reaps a reward far beyond anything we could ever imagine.
Going off of the above paragraph, I just want to say something more about dreams. Because in this day and age I feel like we're infatuated with dreams. "Pursue your dreams." "You can be anything you want to be." You've heard it before, right? But what if your dreams don't come true? What if, despite all your efforts, you never accomplish those things you've set your heart on? What if in the end your life is nothing but a simple average life, with nothing much to speak of? Has it all been in vain? Are you a failure?
By no means!
George may have been a failure in regards to worldly success, but in regards to what really matters he was enormously successful.
After all, our goal in life should never be about pursuing our dreams, our plans...but about pursuing the dreams and plans of our Creator. To do what He has called us to do. That's not to say, of course, that we shouldn't have dreams, because God Himself gives us dreams and He wants us to pursue them. But first and foremost our focus must be on Him, and then everything else will fall into place.
And don't ever measure yourself by the world's standard of success, because the world doesn't have anything on God's measuring stick. The world wants big impressive, note-worthy stories. But more often than not it's the little things in life that bring about the true success. The caring smile given to a stranger on the street; the hug of encouragement to a friend; the money you barely have enough of, but still manage to be able to share with someone in need. Your life may not be anything spectacular in the eyes of most people, but if God's blessing is upon it you can be sure it will be wonderful.
Let's be like Him. Let's love them, too.
Happy New Year!