The Faceless Adult
I sat there with tears welling up in my eyes. A five year old and a nine year old sat in my lap covered by a blanket, watching an older movie. I had elected, this cold Friday night, to show my kids E.T. I had forgotten how wonderful the movie is. As this story unfolded in the nearly wasteland of a suburban development situated right next to a forest almost too lush to be anywhere near such a paved place, I remembered thinking every one must be so hot. That is until I realized they were all wearing jackets.
Tears yes I fought them back in spots where the children experienced the wonder of E.T. levitating some spheres or just walking into a room. I was also fascinated with the facelessness of the adult population. You see no adult faces are seen except the mother until the very end where E.T. is finally captured. Then suddenly with all of the might of adulthood bearing down on the childlike discovery that E.T. represents, then the adults have faces. It is as if being in possession of E.T. gives you an identity.
There is a scene where Elliot is headed into the woods to put Reese’s Pieces down as a trail back to his house. He is suddenly stopped by the lone key bearing adult in solitude looking for clues. Apparently looking for something he has wanted since the tinder age of ten. It seemed so lonely too me. It was the perfect setup to paint a villain where there was none.
What A Villain
If there is a villain in E.T. an actual villain. Then it would have to be the ever present sense of wonder slipping away from us. I love Jesus, there is no getting around it. I am awed by the majesty of this world and of the greater universe. I am awed by watching my kids learn. I even find beauty in the darker times of life, a candle is most beautiful in the darkest of rooms. I think that is what E.T. the movie does it explores this sense of wonder and then darkens the room till the brightest thing in our vision is the glowing heart of E.T.
Not that E.T. is some Jesus figure he is not. Though he does die and come back to life and then ascend into heaven. I have to say pretty funny similarities but still not a Jesus figure. What he is though is a concept an archetype an avatar of wonder, discover, awe, kindness and child-likeness. We could do with more of that.
Also published on Medium.