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Movies that stay with you

After not going to the “real” movies in more than six months, I’ve been twice in the past six days – once to see “Iron Lady” and once to see “The Descendants.”

In spite of the many less than positive reviews I read, I found the portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” to be very sympathetic, empathic. Of course, Meryl Streep was utterly convincing as the former British Prime Minister in both her prime and current state of declining health.

Since seeing this film, I’ve been pondering the consequences of over-using a positive characteristic to the exclusion of others. Margaret Thatcher valued the ability to hold fast to her defining value – both politically and personally – and certainly realized great success doing so – both politically and personally.

But, when the time came to modify, to work with others, to conciliate, she defined all those stances as weakness, cowardliness. She held fast to her opinion and decisions to the detriment of her nation and herself.

The storyline of “The Descendants” is one of relationships; we Sisters of Providence would say of “right relationships.” Set against incredibly beautiful Hawaiian landscapes, a father and his young daughters cope with the dying of his wife, their mother. All sorts of other characters come into play – the teenage daughter’s boyfriend, the parents of the dying woman, the man with whom the dying woman had had an affair, that man’s wife and children – on and on it goes.

Added to the complexity is the relationship that the protagonist’s family has with a prime piece of Hawaiian land that has never been developed. Should the family who has held it in a trust for many years now sell it to be developed into luxury homes and businesses?

Feelings of love, betrayal, anger, confusion, grief, and forgiveness move so convincingly in the scenes of the film that it’s almost overwhelming. Again, plenty to think about …who hasn’t been or isn’t in a web of relationships that evoke a myriad of feelings, require a continual commitment to do the loving action, to forgive, to make the right choice if not the popular choice?

Maybe you’ve seen these films or others that have stayed with you and evoked questions or wonderings. Feel free to comment – it helps us all!

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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