Tangled: Caught Between Reality and a Dream
December 28, 2010 at 11:17 pm, by Jonah Rank
I have little to say about Tangled because (1) it is a fantastic film and (2) the only negative thing I can say about it is something that would absolutely spoil the film for anybody who hasn’t seen it yet. Since I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, I’m going to have to be really vague in this post.
The beginning of the movie actually set me up for a non-Happily Ever After sort of ending, but—I’m not going to reveal what the ending actually is—the ending wasn’t as sad as the movie made me get ready for. In the first few minutes of the film, we hear of the impending death of the narrator, and the way the film went, I was completely prepared for an ending of very dark proportions.
I’m not going to say whether or not the end of the film was a Happily-Ever-After, but I am going to say that I was overprepared for a certain kind of ending that didn’t happen, and it was difficult for me in the end to see a different ending come along.
I really had believed that this was going to be the Disney film that would tell kids that things can often be good, but sometimes things don’t work out for the best. It’s not a reassuring—or entirely clear—message for kids to hear, but I was somewhat hoping for Disney to make a film with that sort of emotional honesty. (Please note that, at the time that I am writing this blog post, I have never studied child development or read books about raising kids.)
You might know by now that I am somewhat liberal when it comes to interpreting Judaism. Anyway, something that has troubled me in Judaism is the concept of Yemot Hammashiach—the days of the Messianic Age.
I’m not comfortable saying Yemot Hammashiach will never come, but I’m also not comfortable thinking I’ll witness Yemot Hammashiach arriving for all of humanity. I don’t believe that Yemot Hammashiach will necessarily be marked by a holy person or be easily recognized as an eternal age of peace and perfection (or war and imperfection).
I believe that Yemot Hammashiach is a personal era in each of our lives when we can find some constant or consistent source for bringing out our most positive energies: love, happiness, creativity, humor, and the like. Having said that, I don’t believe Yemot Hammashiach will simply show up.
Yemot Hammashiach, as an era, is a goal towards which people must be willing to work; I’m not sure if Yemot Hammashiach will come for people who are unwilling to take the initiative to help themselves find happiness in life (and not all of us are so lucky to have friends who are strong enough to help us along into our personal Yemot Hammashiach).
I sincerely thought Disney created a film where they, not only agree with me here, but admit this through a very cruel story; however, Disney didn’t go exactly where I expected with Tangled.
I know that this post is really vague, but I’m really trying not to spoil anything here (since yesterday, I accidentally spoiled the ending for a friend). Anyway, Tangled made me reconsider Yemot Hammashiach. Do I believe that Yemot Hammashiach will be temporary, or an actual Happily-Ever-After? Do all good people merit Yemot Hammashiach, or must good people work towards it? If you haven’t seen Tangled yet, I’ll say this much: Disney and I see eye-to-eye on one of these matters, but not necessarily the other one.
Honestly, if you read this far in the blog post, please just go see Tangled. It’s a fabulous movie!