Today, I took a personal day, which somehow coincided with my dad's day off.  So we decided to see a movie.  We were between Maleficent and How to Train Your Dragon 2.  We ended up going with Maleficent.  I wanted to share some thoughts on the film.  If you haven't seen it, spoilers are to follow.

*****************************Warning:  SPOILERS***********************************

Ever since I was a young child, Sleeping Beauty was my all time favorite Disney film and part of it was because Maleficent was such a quintissential villain.  There was always something about her not about how she was doing bad things because she was evil but because she was intelligent, interesting and seemingly damaged.  All Disney villains lack some sense of compassion, but it was never explained why.  Disney in the olden days created good people and bad people and there really wasn't anything in between until Maleficent came about.

They show you the back story of Maleficent.  How she was good and kindhearted.  Her only real mistake was falling in love and trusting a human.  Stefan was the boy's name and he would later become king after viciously betraying Maleficent by cutting off her wings and bringing them to the dying king, so that he would be proclaimed heir to the throne.  Needless to say, Maleficent is devastated by the loss of her wings and Stefan's betrayal. 

At that point, Maleficent turns dark, bent on revenge upon Stefan, which she gets by cursing his new daughter, Aurora.  Before she gets to the pricking her finger on a spinning wheel part of the curse, she gives Aurora a gift of having anyone who meets Aurora love her.  That is the important part because even Maleficent cares for her. Maleficent then watches over the child, referring to Aurora as Beastie.  This is probably a great thing because the 3 fairies that watch over her are inept and would have probably let Aurora starve.  They also let her run off a cliff after a butterfly, which Maleficent saves her from too. Maleficent takes care of Aurora initially to ensure that the curse comes into being, but that changes over time as most things tend to do.

The interesting thing about Maleficent's magic is that when she is doing good her powers are shown as gold, when evil, the powers are shown as green.  As the relationship with Aurora goes on, Maleficent starts to soften and care for the girl.  Aurora even calls her Fairy Godmother. They meet and spend a lot of time together on the Moors where the fairy folk live.  Maleficent thinks that maybe Aurora is the one that can stop all the bad things that have happened and she tries to lift the curse.  Unfortunately, no earthly power can undo the curse and only true love's kiss can break the spell.

To protect Aurora, King Stefan sent Aurora away.  However, as the years pass, Stefan becomes obsessed with destroying Maleficent.  This becomes very frightening because this obsession leads to paranoia, which leads Stefan to become a terrible king.  He orders the iron workers to work night and day on defenses, is abusive to his knights and ignores his Queen to have a conversation with Maleficent's taken wings while the Queen is dying.  I've seen this level of paranoia and it is toxic.  The one who is paranoid thinks that they are protecting the ones they love, but in reality it's a sickness of the mind that destroys all.

When Aurora finds out the truth of who she is and what had happened to her as a baby, she runs away from Maleficent after confronting her and towards the Castle and Stefan.  Stefan is too consumed with destroying Maleficent to have a happy reunion with his daughter, so he has her locked up for her protection, of course.  However, the curse is already at work and Aurora does prick her finger and fall asleep forever.  Maleficent was riding with Prince Philip, who was in an enchantment induced sleep to try to stop the curse from taking place but she is too late. 

With little thought for herself, she takes Philip and her raven into the castle to try to undo the curse with Philip giving Aurora true love's kiss at 16 like what Stefan had given to Maleficent when she turned 16.  The worst part is neither Stefan nor Maleficent believe in true love because of what has happened n the past. Philip's kiss, although having the right intentions, does not work. The most poignant thing, is the Maleficent apologizes for what she has done because she loves Aurora and swears no harm will come to her as long as Maleficent lives.  She kisses Aurora on the forehead and Aurora awakens saying, "Hello Godmother."  Maleficent replies, "Hello, Beastie."

That was the most important scene in the film for me because true love isn't about a romantic partner.  Love in any form is pure, transformative and good.  The thing about the word love, due in part to Disney films and American culture, is only used for referring to a romantic partner or your family.  That is something that I have always fought against.  I don't think I will ever find a boyfriend/husband and I don't think that that is something that will make me any less lonely.  I can love someone and not be in love with them.  Anything done with the intention of love whether it be platonic, familial or romantic must be true.  I am so glad that it was Disney that decided to change this perception that something other than romantic love is true love and can break a spell.

The other thing that was great about this film is that Maleficent was both hero and villain because while she caused so much ill, she tried to make things better.  Stefan on the other hand was consumed by his greed, his obsession and his paranoia.  We both have good and bad inside us.  We can all change and sometimes a person, not a romance, can change us for the better and make us good again.

I suggest that everyone see this movie because true love is more than a romantic partner/spouse.  True love can come from anyone, if you let it.


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