I’m a busy guy. Between family, church, work, and singing in three choirs I don’t get to go to many movies; I just don’t have time. During the Christmas break, however, the family went to the beach to just get away and rest. It was cold—too cold for this southern boy. We didn’t get in the water and barely had sunshine thus I caught up on some movies.
I know friends who had their tickets for The Last Jedi months ago. I enjoyed it, but as a family friend described back in the 70s, “It’s just Cowboys and Indians in outer space.”
Then we saw The Darkest Hour. I’m generally not one for history books or movies, but I do love a hero. When Winston Churchill took the underground to hear from the common people I found myself weeping. It’s taken a while to process it. What brought me to tears?
I’ve long known that when someone is “honored” by others that I will get choked up—think the end of The Lord of the Rings trilogy when Aragorn bows to the hobbits. When all the townsfolk show up and rescue George at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, I cry like a baby. I even wept at the ending of Mulan when the emperor bowed to Mulan for saving all of China. Of course, it didn’t help that a million more Chinese bowed to honor her as well.
These tears during The Darkest Hour, however, weren’t about honoring someone. So why cry? The London commoners were shocked that the Prime Minister was on the tube. Tentative and nervous, they slowly began to introduce themselves. Finally, Churchill got around to the real purpose of his unorthodox commute. “What do you think we should do about the Nazis? Should we fight or should we negotiate a surrender?” The baker, the chimney sweep, the mother comforting her child overwhelmingly responded “We fight! We fight to the last breath!” The chimney sweep even said he’d fight with a broomstick. I had tears rolling down my cheeks.
The people were looking to their leader for stability, reassurance, and hope. He was looking to the people for affirmation that his instincts were right. It struck me how different the world would be if Churchill had acquiesced to Chamberlain. The courage of one man, that courage stoked by and for the people he led, that courage changed the course of history and led to freedom for millions.
Can I be such a man? I may not be in a position to free millions, but thousands? Hundreds? Dozens? Even one? What sacrifices am I willing to make to see another walk in freedom? I want to be that hero.
We also saw The Greatest Showman. I realize that it is a highly stylized version of the truth of P. T. Barnum, but what a show! The music is awesome. The story is really fascinating. And once again I found myself weeping. Surprisingly, for the same reason as The Darkest Hour. Sure Barnum was flawed, but the movie portrays him as rescuing the outcasts—the bearded lady, the dwarf, the albino, the fat man. They became a family. They found a place where they each belonged and he became….their father—the father rescuing and saving his children. The hero. I wept.
Jesus, let me be that kind of man.