This afternoon I went to see Saving Mr. Banks with my roommate. Our two screen cinema in town was showing that and the Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I was okay with seeing either of them, but my roommate got home from church and said that someone had recommended Saving Mr. Banks. It wasn’t until we were watching the previews that I realized I had no idea what the movie was about. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have cable–you don’t see all of the ads on TV for the new movies coming out. She told me it was about the making of Mary Poppins. I was a little bit skeptical.
It turned out to be a really good movie. But this isn’t meant to be a movie analysis post. Rather, it reminded me of something really important. It reminded me of the value of people’s stories:
[DISCLAIMER: If you have not seen the movie or don’t want the movie to be ruined for you, then I would recommend not reading any further–I make no promises. Also, I can’t guarantee that you’ll understand what I’m referring to if you haven’t seen the movie–sorry about that.]
Many of the characters in the movie have very strong personalities. There’s a lot of clashing. There’s a lot of tension. There’s a lot of stubborn hardheadedness. And there are a lot of quirks–the limo driver especially has a very distinctive personality.
And it’s not until much of the way through the movie that you find out why these people are this way. It’s not until you hear Ralph talk about his daughter that you understand why he always talks about the weather the way he does. It’s not until you see more of Mrs. Travers’s past that you understand why it’s so hard for her to let Mary Poppins go. And it’s not until Walt shares about his father and his own dream that you understand why he gets Mrs. Travers the way he does and want her to trust him.
It’s the stories of each of these characters that make them make sense. When you understand people’s stories, you understand why people are the way they are. Maybe you’re a little bit more gracious to them because of this. Maybe not. But at least you understand. And we all want to be understood.
So take another minute, sometime, and listen to someone’s story.