I usually watch The Grinch numerous times during the year and at least two or three times in December, leading up to Christmas. I recall that I was not impressed with it the first time I saw it, but over the years it has become a decided favorite. I noticed something in it this year, however, which had not been evident before to me. Actually, I noticed three things which have given me new respect for the movie and the people who brought it to life. My eyes have seen the light.
Observation #1. The Grinch is, first and foremost, a story of division and redemption. It is a story of human nature and emotions (hatred, animosity, greed, pride, fear, etc.), and the way they drive people apart to the point where they can no longer live with each other. It is a story of how they are brought back together through circumstances and a change of attitude towards others, leading to a reconciliation between those who were once estranged from each other. It is a story of love overcoming evil and, in its own way, is not that far removed from the story of how God’s love overcomes the evil within our own hearts once we realize our errors and correct our ways. It exemplifies the real reason Christ Jesus came to Earth–born, living, and dying as a human being–to show us the way we can be reconciled with God and, by extension, each other.
Observation #2. After the Grinch had stolen Christmas from the citizens of Whoville while they were sleeping, the Mayor, backed up by his sycophantic assistant, is berating the little girl, Cindy Lou, for causing the entire catastrophe by encouraging the Grinch to be part of the festivities. “Invite the Grinch! Destroy Christmas!”, delivered in all the pomposity and belligerence which can only come from a position of arrogant power. What is surprising, though, is that Cindy Lou’s father, an obsequious mouse of a man, steps forward and defends his daughter, confronting the Mayor and forcing him to back down publicly. In the process of doing so, he also proclaims the real reason for celebrating Christmas, not the gifts given and received, but the fact that his family is beside him regardless of what happens.
Observation #3. After The Grinch had come to his senses and realized what he had done, restitution had to be made and so he set off with Cindy Lou to return everything he had taken. At the very end of an out-of-control descent from the mountain into the village, Cindy Lou’s father plants himself in the path of the runaway sleigh, risking his own life to save that of his young daughter. Lou Who, the postmaster, unquestionably proves himself through his words and actions to be a real man.
Conclusion. This is no ‘woke’ movie. Not only does it “preach the gospel” of Christmas, but the men are men, the women are women, and everyone understands the difference. Most of the characters are ‘white’ and there is no racism, overt or covert, shown at all. Even though egregious wrongs are committed, forgiveness is granted when confession of guilt is owned up to. Loving relationships are restored as the malice and rancor of the past are forgotten.
Could such a movie with a similar message be made today? Could it make it past the censors whose only concern is the cancellation and silencing of anything which does not measure up to the “truth of the moment”? Could Hollywood even produce a sequel?
Perhaps. They can start with the fact that the Grinch was green. Other than that, I will not hold my breath waiting for it.