Last night I watched The Green Mile. It is a film I saw only once before and that was around twenty years ago but my reaction to the fantastic action and the storyline was exactly the same as I remembered it. What was different this time was that I watched it with my children.
Now I know that it is rated 18 and many of you will be squirming in your chairs as your read this but I believed there were many valuable lessons to be learned from the film and as a very level-headed mother, who better than me to judge what my children can and cannot see?
I let them watch all but the electrocution and death scenes, where I ushered them into the kitchen until the film had moved on. What they got from the film was exactly what I had hoped they would get. They picked up on the dignity of both the character Tom Hanks plays and that of the very special prisoner in his care.
And do you know what? I learned something too. I have always been a believer in an eye for an eye, a staunch supporter of harsh treatment for perpetrators but I saw a different aspect of that last night, conveyed to me by the very understated acting. I saw that justice can be done in a quiet dignified manner and that the job of the executioner is one of grace, dignity and compassion. I have to say I had never looked at it like that before.
As for the more obvious themes within the film - that all the characters got their just desserts in the end, that good triumphed on the whole over evil and that extraordinary longevity is a curse more than a blessing...these were all mulled over by the teenager and preteen who sat red eyed and weeping with me by the end of the film.
A really beautiful film and so movingly portrayed.
If you missed it first time round, catch it on DVD. If you don't you will never know what you are missing.