The Force Awakens

The first movie I ever saw in the theater was Annie and I was enchanted.  I have a dim memory of enormous shiny glass doors at the entrance and I know I sang Tomorrow at the top of my lungs and in very poor tune for a long time afterwards.  I named my teddy bear Molly, after my favorite orphan (she was cute and maybe my very young self recognized a kinship in brown pigtails that I would never have with red curls, no matter how much I idolized the main character).

That year, I picked out the box with the Annie mask and red vinyl smock for Halloween and wore it with joy for the next two years.

   (Those vinyl smock costumes have  a story  behind them!  I never knew!)

 (Those vinyl smock costumes have a story behind them!  I never knew!)

Then came Star Wars, which I watched obsessively on VHS, always demanding that mom fast forward through the scary part with the Sand People before she could leave me alone.  I wanted the Halloween box of Luke Skywalker that year, but they were sold out, so I took Darth Vader.  And spent the next several years perfecting a Vader-worthy breathing style by pressing my tongue against the sharp edge of the tiny mouth hole.  I felt it gave a very convincing slurpy rasping effect.

At some point, maybe when I decided I could handle the Sand People scene without fast forwarding or adult company, I got to watch the other two movies.  But they were way too scary and I did not love them.  I spent most of first grade terrified that the floor would open up below me and I'd come up a frozen block of carbonite.

I did love Ewoks, though, and the fake fur teddy bear costume my mother actually sewed for me (I think I helped fashion the head wrap, using a rag of a thin bathrobe in a surprisingly appropriate color) took me  happily through most of the rest of my costumed Halloweens.

So I found myself on the first Sunday morning of this year, when we finally had tickets and a babysitter, briefly contemplating an attempt at Leia buns in honor of the occasion.  Let's be honest, though.  We're lucky we both got showers before handing off two excited kids and a cranky snotty baby (discovered that evening to have a double ear infection) and making our escape.

Hmm.  That lead in was longer than I'd intended.  This was supposed to be a quick post where I tell you what I thought of the new movie.

It was fun!  I loved the casting.  I can totally imagine little-kid me being even more excited to be Rey for Halloween (especially with how cool and not-vinyl Halloween costumes are these days) than I was to be Luke or Vader.  (Except that little-kid me would have been way too terrified by this movie to even get past the third or fourth scene, much less fall in love with it.  Even adult me kept wishing they’d just cut half the action sequences and let us have a little rest.)  As an old fan of the original, the nods back to that one were fun (especially because the audience so obviously loved them; I slightly regret that we didn’t see it closer to the release, when I know the crowds were even more excited.)

Grown-up me loved even-more-grown-up Leia the best, though (and Carrie Fisher has definitely been the best thing in the little press I've read).  How often in the movies do you see a woman her age (and a mother, even! and with some grey hair!) portrayed as commanding, beautiful, complex, and warm, all at the same time?   I also totally want to be able to do my hair in that nice crown-braid thing she had going on.


For an interesting take on other aspects of the movie, both positive and negative, I’d definitely recommend the Feminist Frequency review.