Thursday, April 03, 2008

Enchanted on Marriage

I love Enchanted. I like the subtle spoof it is on earlier Disney movies (even Lady and the Tramp!). The music is fun, and I like the premise “What if the heroes and heroines of Disney Fairyland were in the real world?” Everyone told me before I saw it that it was a funny movie, but I think it is romantic. Plus philosophically I see a lot of good messages, for a change, on love and marriage. By way of disclaimer, before I enumerate my appreciation for Disney’s new take on romance, I thought I’d tell you the 5 things I really didn’t like about Enchanted.



Oh, uh, Spoiler Alert. Obviously.

Enchanted’s weaknesses:


1. Giselle’s clothes aren’t modest. The situation with the shower is less modest, as conduct and visually. At one point she puts her hand very unnecessarily on Robert’s chest.




2. A tiny bit of crass humor and adult insinuation (of the kind that kids can rationalize as meaningless).




3. The evil in the movie is scary and occult, using spells, fire, smoke, dragons, and old hags.




4. Morgan uses her dad’s emergency credit card for a shopping trip.




5. Robert, who has invested in a 5 year relationship with Nancy and was intending to propose, abandons her (with her permission) for a woman he was basically falling in love with while still giving her the impression he intended to marry Nancy. Giselle was set to marry Prince Edward, and promises him she will return to Andalasia though she is having doubts. She, of course, ends up trading him for the New York lawyer. Robert puts himself in a tempting situation by taking Giselle for a walk, a boat ride, a carriage ride, and pizza; finally he dances with her. There’s an issue of faithfulness and honesty here.




Enchanted on Marriage:



1. Dreaming

Giselle starts by dreaming of her prince. She has an ideal of simple romance, handsome, present, and royal. It makes her sing, gives her something to talk about, and gets her through lonely days in the forest. Her perspective nearly gets her into a marriage that, the day after happily ever after, isn’t going to be much of anything.



2. Kissing

In Enchanted, kissing is the activity of marriage or those who will be married. It is symbolic of permanence and commitment. Near the beginning of the first song, Giselle sings that “before two can become one, there’s something you must do.” This is an allusion to the story in Genesis, Jesus’ words, and Paul’s quotation – in the Bible! Compared to most movies, or even Disney movies, Marriage is given high priority.



3. It’s You Duet

Because of Giselle’s shallow perspective on true love, when Prince Edward rescues her singing on his horse, she immediately assumes he’s the one. He also looks like the statue she made based on her dream. With little explanation, the Prince, who already heard her song, decides they’re made for each other (note the predestination) and should get married in the morning.



4. "Strengths and Weaknesses"

Robert and Nancy’s take on marriage is slow, thoughtful, and calm. They’ve analyzed each other, have a functional relationship, and think they’re ready to take the next step. He does seem to care whether they break up. She trusts him. But they each value things that the other does not represent for them: romance, emotion, and fun, for example.



5. Separating Forever and Ever

Robert is a divorce lawyer, bummer of a job for a movie about happily ever after. But he’s put out of a job by Giselle’s entrance. Separating forever and ever is a terribly sad thing, she cries. She reminds a couple contemplating divorce that there are attributes of their spouse that they value and won’t find anywhere else. They hold each other’s hearts, and that brings responsibility.



6. Dating

Dating is getting to know someone before you marry them. It usually involves a nice activity like dinner out or a movie or museum. You exchange information on your interests. It is good to note that Robert and Giselle come from opposite perspectives, each teach each other something, and meet in the blissful middle. Robert says most normal people date. I suppose that’s true. And if by date you really mean know them before you marry them, I’m ok with that. Courtship and friendship pre-wedding would fall under this category for the purposes of the movie.



7. "I Always Treated Her Like a Queen"

True love is not about manipulation or exchanging favors. Love does not worship the other person in a way that denies truth. A person must offer him or her self in love, not some trampled pantomime of what the other person wants. Honesty and sincerity are important.



8. "I Will Save You"

True love isn’t the only kind. Enchanted portrays the love of friends and children as equally valuable. Marriage isn’t this self-contained, self-sustaining relationship that comprises one’s whole world. It is meant to be in community and to create additional community. Chip is a faithful friend to Giselle, relentlessly risking his life to save her. Her prince actually shows a great deal of chivalry in going after her despite no real interest in her as a person. And Morgan’s relationship as a step-daughter is an important measuring stick of Giselle’s right-ness for Robert. Morgan is part of the picture, and her needs are valued.



9. Pain, Risk, Good Times with the Bad

At a later scene, the couple once pondering divorce is happily reunited, willing to work through their problems. Reality has its problems, but that doesn’t mean you give up. Reality is worth sticking around for. This is a theme that will resonate with both Robert and Giselle. Robert got burnt by his first marriage, and is leery of emotional investment again. The hopeful outlook of his client renews his willingness to try for more. Giselle, her dream dance interrupted by Nancy’s previous claim, is seduced by the offer of forgetting all the memories of love she won’t get to share forever and ever with Robert. The woman was deceived, and she ate. But she learns she was wrong.



10. "So Far We are So Close"

These are the lyrics Robert sings to Giselle. She’d been encouraging him the whole movie to express his true feelings in the convincing mode of a ballad, and now he’s singing to her without realizing exactly the import of his actions. The gist of his confession is that they’ve been through a lot together. He’s been angry and frustrated and confused, and she’s been angry and confused and conflicted. Now they know each other, their strengths and weaknesses, not through analysis. No, they know each other through experience. They came from opposite points of view near to the middle of true, happily ever after love… so close.



11. "Most Powerful Thing on Earth"

Is true love the most powerful thing on earth? Song of Solomon says love is as strong as death. But God’s love conquered even that last enemy (by Christ dying). Does a kiss change evil? Are there still things you have to fight? Yes. Love is powerful. It does not, however, preclude a battle and a reality of pain and effort, falling and catching. Perhaps it does guarantee the ending.



12. Happily Ever After

The credits song, Ever Ever After, says that happily ever after can be true if you open your heart to be enchanted. I really don’t like the credits song. It missed all the good strong points of the movie. Happily ever after is portrayed in Enchanted as marriage. It is relationship, forsaking all others, and embracing a new life with determination, enthusiasm, and joy.



To God be all glory.

1 comment:

Melian said...

I...haven't seen it. Another thing to add to our list of things to do together *soon*? I'm really excited we're going to hang out for reals. It's been far too long Lisse.