Saturday, February 17, 2007

Charlotte's Web

One evening back in the autumn, I found myself having dinner at a Mexican restaurant with Bob Beltz of Walden Media. Bob had been working on Amazing Grace – a film we’ll be hearing a lot about this spring – and had shown us a sneak-preview trailer earlier in the day. But when, over dinner, I asked him what was exciting him at the moment, he started talking about another Walden project, Charlotte’s Web.

Yesterday I took Susannah (5) and Noah (4) to see Charlotte’s Web. A trip to the cinema has become a half-tem holiday tradition. We all enjoyed it very much. Before we went, I’d read them an abridged version of the story, so they knew that Charlotte dies – is that giving away too crucial a part of the plot of a film adaptation of a children’s classic written in 1952? I don’t think so! – and, though they found that quite sad, they still wanted to see the film. In fact, the film is not as tear-jerking as the book (after all, to get a ‘U’ Certificate, a film has to be considered suitable for anyone aged four and upwards by the censors). But it is full of gentle wisdom on how to see others through the eyes of child-like wonder, and, to borrow a phrase from Rowan Williams, the impact of ‘prosaic heroism’ on a community.

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