“we are creatures of the underworld – we can’t afford to love”

sing to me, Ewan

Last night was our weekly family movie night, and I got to introduce Emma to one of my very favourite films, Moulin Rouge. When this movie first came out (16 years ago?!), I saw it multiple times in the theatres. While I own the DVD, I don’t think I’ve seen it since Emma has been born. It’s been a while, but I still remember pretty much EVERY WORD (and lyric!) of it.

It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside — particularly when you watch something you’ve loved in past, but now have different eyes to process what you see.

While there’s much about the movie I still love (the songs! the colours! Nicole’s hair!), I don’t think I love it quite as much as I did before. For one, it’s not the classic love story I once considered it to be — now when I watch it, all I see is two jealous men fighting to selfishly possess a dying woman who’s drowning in her emotional labour responsibilities.

Both Christian (the sensitive/dashing beau) and the Duke (the creepy gazillionaire) feel like they are entitled to own Satine. Added to that, she’s also carrying the responsibilities of making sure the Moulin Rouge doesn’t financially fail, which means Zidler (the singsongy fat pimp) also makes a point of controlling her. She’s always in a dance of making these men happy, by meeting their needs — when very few are actually looking out for what she needs (as she’s dying of tuberculosis). The story is hardly the moving and romantic tale I thought it was.

I love the caged-bird metaphors and references that were made throughout the film. And the most moving scene isn’t the final one when she dies in Christian’s arms, but when Satine resigns herself to accept her fate of being trapped:

Last night, after we finished watching the movie, Emma (the wise 10 year old), made a point of saying how much she didn’t like Ewan McGregor’s character: “even though he was in love, he was so jealous! And he should have let her do what she needed to do to help her friends. If he’s going to be so upset, it’s just not going to work out.

I was a little floored how she was able to see through the plot as quickly as she did, and how much of her observations echoed what I was thinking.

As her mama, I’m also proud of my little girl — and I hope she’ll carry this relational savvy with her. Because if she does, she’ll be many steps ahead of her mama.


what she said:

“Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

“I’ll warrant you’ll make plenty in it,” said Marilla. “I never saw your beat for making mistakes, Anne.”

“Yes, and well I know it,” admitted Anne mournfully. “But have you ever noticed one encouraging thing about me, Marilla? I never make the same mistake twice.”

“I don’t know as that’s much benefit when you’re always making new ones.”

“Oh, don’t you see, Marilla? There must be a limit to the mistakes one person can make, and when I get to the end of them, then I’ll be through with them. That’s a very comforting thought.”

from Anne of Green Gables

by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Emma and I are reading this book together, and I’m so excited about showing her the old-school Megan Follows miniseries after we finish.  On the other hand, I’m also already filled with dread about having to read the chapter about Matthew.

Emmalee Anne, VIII

I have an 8 year old. 8! It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 whole years since my infamous labour day experience (which I am so glad I took the time to write about, as sleep-deprived and rambley as I was at that time).

Emma and mama, day 1
Emma and mama, day 1
Emma and mama, year 8
Emma and mama, year 8

This weekend was all about celebrating this amazing little grrrl.  From a pottery party with school friends, breakfast pancakes with sprinkles, and finally a ringette game with post-game cupcakes, I think she felt well commemorated this weekend.

It’s a new time for her, getting used to the rhythm of living in two separate homes. It’s been an adjustment for us all, but more than anything, I worry about her, and how she’s handling it all. She’s quickly moving into a place where it’s less about ME fixing things for her, and more about HER finding ways to help herself.

And that’s been hard for me to learn to do, as her mama. For so long I was able to swoop in and help make her life easier — but now I know I can’t do that as much, because it won’t help her in the long run. She’s got to learn some coping strategies, and to do that, sometimes she has to hurt. My hope is that she knows I’m never that far behind her, as she’s learning some of these hard lessons.