My 3-Year-Old's Surprising Movie Question
My son's first time at a movie theater didn't exactly go as I expected
“Mommy, why is Anna punching people?”
This innocent question was my only hint that my older son, my brilliant, precocious 3-year-old pride and joy, hadn’t necessarily comprehended the movie as well as I’d anticipated.
Yes, it was his first time seeing a film in theaters, but I still had high hopes. This is, after all, is a child who can distinguish between myriad episodes of “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” happily telling me which one he prefers–”the one where Jake is invisible!” “the one where Cubby has a mixed up map!”–that I select from our DVR queue for that evening’s viewing. Clearly, he has sophisticated taste.
After hearing the great reviews for Disney’s “Frozen,” I decided it’d be a good film to help us tackle the movie theater milestone. My son was excited to watch something on such a huge screen, and I was excited for the opportunity to sit down.
Admittedly, I was concerned that I wouldn’t actually be able to sit for long. My son is rather active, to put it mildly, and I had nightmarish visions of chasing him up and down the aisle while fellow moviegoers shook their heads in disgust and threw Junior Mints at us. (OK, the visions weren’t completely nightmarish because Junior Mints are delicious!)
When we first entered the theater, my son did, in fact, decide to roam around for a bit, exploring our dimmed surroundings. Fortunately, we went to a Wednesday matinee and had the whole theater to ourselves… and after a few minutes, my kid, amazingly enough, settled down into his seat.
He stayed there throughout the film, his eyes attentively on the screen most of the time, until we approached the end when–spoiler alert!–one of the protagonists punched a villain and my son raised his question. I was caught so off guard that I quickly muttered “because he did something bad,” quietly resolving to explain later why, generally speaking, punching is a bad idea.
In retrospect, I can understand why the punch would have confused my boy. The villain on the business end of Princess Anna’s fist had originally been portrayed as a good guy. His true nature wasn’t revealed until later. Such plot twists don’t really happen in the preschool-targeted TV shows that my son typically watches. He has yet to pick up on my habit of devouring prime time soaps–at least as far as I know. (If he starts asking me what a “scandal” is, I know we’re in trouble.)
Notwithstanding the parts that went over his head, I know my son enjoyed the movie and his first theater experience. Trust me, if he hadn’t liked it, I would have heard about it.
I’m already giddily planning our next trip to the theater. Maybe this time, I’ll even spring for the Junior Mints.
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