Monday, April 27, 2009

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

I finally did it. After years of hearing about this movie, after being dragged to the Von Trapp tourist trap house on a family vacation, after never having had even the slightest desire to see this film, I finally broke down and watched The Sound Of Music.

This is the part where I'm supposed to renounce my prior disdain for the movie and admit I just didn't know what I was missing, isn't it? Sorry, kids, but the best I can do on that front is just to say that it wasn't as bad as I had been bracing myself for.

The main problem I had was Saint Maria. She was just too good to be true -- and this was even after I'd just watched "Practically Perfect" Mary Poppins. It wasn't Maria herself, or Julie Andrews' portrayal, that I had a problem with; what bothered me most was the way that other characters talked about her, particularly the other nuns. "How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?" Really? I hate it when characters' flaws are excused or benevolently tolerated for no reason. Even in a children's story, I think it just makes that character feel flat.

The story itself felt like it should have been two different movies. First there's a would-be nun acting as governess to a widower's children; she gains the children's trust and falls in love with her employer, and there are a few mentions of the political climate strewn about here and there. They live happily ever after until someone decides the movie was too short, so hold on a second -- there's Nazis! Maybe it was because I'd expected the main plot to be about the family's escape from occupied Austria, but the entire ending felt tacked-on to me.

Maybe if I'd grown up with this movie, I would have liked it better. I did enjoy parts of it, but it isn't a film I'd actively seek out to watch again.


  1. Great post! And I agree with you in your opinions about the film feeling like two different ones, but I still couldn't resist the charms of it. I guess I can sum it up by saying that I share your thoughts about the film, but that I still love it for its corny ingredients!

  2. Yes, I think growing up with it probably does make a difference. I can forgive quite a bit if the film has been a part of my life so long I can't imagine life without it. Like Lolita, I agree with you that it feels like two different films, but it still works for me. You know when I was younger, I thought the movie ended when she left after the party, because that's when I had to go to bed. I never knew there was more to the film for years!!

    This is another one my little nephew loves, though he only wants to see the songs from this one (as opposed to Mary Poppins, which he'll watch start to finish). He has such a Julie Andrews crush!

  3. Wow, I SO agree with you! And I used to watch the movie when I was a kid, so it's not just that.

    I really dislike the film.

    Partially because the whole plot line is a little strange, like you mentioned. It feels weird. I always have thought that the movie should end at the wedding scene...maybe zoom back and show the whole cathedral (with dramatic music playing...and nun's singing)and cut to the credits.

    And partially because I don't like movies about singing children. ;-D

  4. Although I do like THE SOUND OF MUSIC, I applaud your candor about your opinion of it and not let a general consensus "bully" you into a false feeling about it. Good post.