Promised the children I’d take them to watch a movie for the school holidays. With such a wide age group, it can be hard to find something that we can all enjoy. (Yes, I have heard of splitting up and watching different movies; we just didn’t do it this time.)
Dracula lives with his daughter Mavis at Hotel Transylvania, a resort for monsters. Mavis’ 118th birthday is approaching and her father has invited all the famous monsters to come and help celebrate. In addition to being a haven for monsters who are looking for some respite from human civilisation, the Hotel is actually Dracula’s way of keeping Mavis away from the rest of the world.
Mavis knows that her father was not always a recluse, that he and her mother had actually gone on vacations, and she longs to venture out and see the world beyond. All her previous requests had been denied, but to her surprise, for her 118th birthday, Dracula allows her to visit and interact with the residents of a neighbouring village. Her excitement soon turns to fear and then desperation as the residents turn on her and try to attack her. She returns home to her father’s arms and admit that his account of the world’s wickedness was right after all and she declares to have no desire to go out ever again.
As it turns out, the ‘village’ was a set-up by none other than Dracula himself.
When Mavis discovers her father’s deception, she is at first angry, but she forgives him when she realises that he truly believed that he was doing it for her own good. He even generously allows her to have a relationship with a Human by the name of Jonathan, who happened to somehow wander into the Hotel premises and not get spooked (too much) by the other guests.
Fuller synopsis here.
While the movie is mostly fun and laugh-out-loud funny, there was one aspect in particular that stood out to me.
I was admittedly surprised to find myself moved to tears at Mavis’ acceptance of her fate and her resolve to trust Dear Daddy in matters involving the outside world (after the visit-to-the-village fiasco). Perhaps my emotions were vulnerable because I have been spending quite a bit of time lately reading the posts on FreeJinger and various blogs which talk about the damaging long-term effects of growing up in ultra-fundamentalist, Patriarchal/Authoritarian homes. The parents in such homes often go to great lengths to protect their children from the outside world. Home school, home church, activities with like-minded families, are typically part and parcel of this type of lifestyle. There are strict rules about what the children can read, watch, and wear. The children are often reminded how ‘evil’ the world is and were told to trust and obey their parents’ decisions in all matters.
One blogger who has left the Patriarchal home life, said that watching Disney’s Tangled and Rapunzel’s escape from the Tower and her emotions at experiencing the world for the first time (the wonder, the joy, the guilt) resonated with her. Watching Mavis’ initial resignation to life in the Hotel reminded me that such things do occur in real life. Although, the ending for both cartoons end on a happy note for the female protagonists, the same cannot be said for the many Mavises and Rapunzels that are still ‘stuck’ in their Hotels and Towers, put there by their well-meaning parents.