We love Maleficent? Really? I wasn’t quite sure about this one when it was suggested. First of all, she’s a villain. We’re not supposed to love the villains. Secondly, I hadn’t seen the movie. I had to actually watch “Maleficent” to be able to write this blog. Probably why I saved it for last. Third, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to love Maleficent after seeing the movie. And you know what? I don’t. But that doesn’t mean that other people don’t.
“Maleficent” is never going to be my favorite Disney movie and Maleficent is never going to be one of my favorite characters. But I can see the appeal of her character and I was fascinated by the new take on the Sleeping Beauty story. It’s amazing how a little bit of backstory can shift a perspective. The character of Maleficent shifts from ‘the mistress of all things evil’ to a wronged and damaged person dealing with her need for revenge. Her actions aren’t different, but her motivations change how we might view her actions.
When we come in contact we people we make decisions about them based on how we react to their actions and appearance. We basically decide what their backstory is and treat them accordingly. We had a heavily tattooed and pierced young woman visit one of my churches on a Sunday. A well-meaning and considerate soul asked me why I thought she hated herself. Based on nothing more than her appearance this woman had decided that our visitor had extreme self-esteem issues and came to church for help. She was wrong. The young woman in question was looking for a way to get involved in community service and thought a church would be able to help her make connections and we could. Her backstory? She had her first full-time job, was living out of her parents’ home for the first time and wanted service to others to be a solid part of her new independent life.
What we see on the surface is never the whole story. People are much more complicated than we can know. That is why people love Maleficent. She is a reminder to us not to judge a book by its cover and to look deeper for the person underneath. Their story might be more complicated than we know.