Monday, August 10, 2015

Book and Movie Review - To Kill a Mockingbird

In my movie reviews, I give my brief thoughts on what I watched. Sometimes I will expound on those thoughts, but more often than not, I will just give a brief opinion. You can read plot descriptions on Internet Movie Database or on Amazon.

To Kill a Mockingbird. Starring Gregory Peck and Mary Badham. 1962

There really is a connection to It's a Wonderful Life here, even though To Kill a Mockingbird was released 15 years later. Follow me.....

To Kill a Mockingbird won Oscars for:
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role (Gregory Peck)
  • Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Horton Foote)
  • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White
It was also nominated for: 
It's a Wonderful Life, while it did not win any Oscars, was nominated for:
  • Best Picture
  • Best Sound Recording
  • Best Picture Editing
  • Best Actor (Jimmy Stewart)
  • Best Director (Frank Capra)
Both films are about people with power trying to hurt people who don't have power...and a single man who is brave enough to stand up for the "little people," or the oppressed. Atticus Finch does it. George Bailey does it. Both of them teach their children what it means to do it, and why it is so important to do.

Both of them meet my definition of "film." They both are existential and deal with issues of equality and fairness. Both strive to do more than entertain. They strive to educate, inform, elucidate, and to question the norm.

The first time I read To Kill a Mockingbird about 7 years ago, I struggled with it in the beginning. But once I got a feel for the language, I fell in love with it. I watched the film several times since then and enjoyed that, as well. I often address my youngest son as "Hey, Boo" because of this book and film.

But my second time reading this book (April, 2015) was an entirely new experience. The comparison between Jews and African-Americans, and the comparison of Hitler to some racist white Americans was chilling, and sadly, true. It struck me the second time through in a way that didn't affect me the first time I read it.

In a world where the rights of the LBGTQ community is an increasingly debated topic, and when race relations appear to be getting worse in some areas of America instead of getting better, it is a good reminder to read this book for a childlike perspective about what equality means and what it should look like. Because sometimes as adults, we are just too jaded to see it ourselves.

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