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This is a remarkably strange movie review for me to write because I saw it with a very special little girl. For the sake of having a consistent way to refer to her in the blog, I am going to call her Abigail, though it is not her name. Like most little girls, she needs to have some protection, and shielding her identity is part of that. For most intents and purposes, she is about 4 or 5 years old. It is hard to tell. Abigail is a little different than other girls. For starters, she doesn’t speak out loud. Someone did something to her a long time ago, and warned her what would happen if she told anyone, or if anyone found out what happened. So Abigail stayed silent, became frightened of the sound of her own voice for fear that someone might overhear her secrets. She became frightened of making sound at all. She cries without noise and gets scared if her breathing gets too ragged when she cries: Someone might hear it, someone might know. She lived in a world of fear, or at least she did up to a year ago when she met someone who makes her feel safe. No, it isn’t me, but I’ve been able to see her unfold, and it has been an amazing journey. One that I realized I should probably sharing somewhere, like maybe a blog.

I saw the movie Rise of the Guardians in the theater with Abigail and the person who makes her feel safe. She made a strong connection with the movie the moment she realized that Sandy, “The Sandman”, couldn’t talk just like her. He had other ways to communicate, just like her, but sometimes people wouldn’t understand him, just like her. She was glued to the screen in a way that I have rarely seen her do.

In honesty, I think all of us who went were hooked into this movie. It is easily my favorite of all the children’s movies I have watched this year (new or on recording). It has an amazing blend of wonder, fun, laughter, fear, curiousity, secrets, and wonderful imagery. There were moments where I could separate myself from the screen enough to turn my logical brain on and identify elements of the Hero’s Journey, but those moments were brief and sparse and I didn’t get very far into such thoughts before it sucked me right back in along for the journey. I can’t begin to give you the kind of detailed review that I could for the movie Brave, and I think that is an excellent sign for how good the movie is. I can’t tell you which way I was expecting the plot to go because I was too busy watching the way it went. I would have thought, particularly with a movie that dealt with holidays, that most things have been done to death, but this movie takes some refreshing takes on some classic characters.

It also had a pretty unexpected effect on Abigail. After the movie, she wanted to share what she had seen. She ended up forgiving someone she hasn’t communicated with in two months because she wanted to make sure that person sees the movie too. Rise of the Guardians is a movie that begs to be watched and cherished and shared, and I would highly recommend seeing it.

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