Watching Movies, Surviving Childhood and Becoming an Assassin

Watching Black Widow made me think about what it means to move locations when you are a child. Most people with fairly stable family units in childhood fall into one of three categories: stayed basically in the same place, moved a little or moved a lot. All three have advantages and disadvantages.

For the long-haulers, kindergarten to high school graduation with the same group, you have the gift of a long trajectory. You have seen how people have changed in time. Your best friend in 6th grade, what were they like in senior year?

For those of you who moved a few times, you have the good parts of both worlds (like being a middle child) you have some long-term perspective and some experience in rubbing up against new situations.

For the peripatetic, you have the edges worn off. You can adapt and have the ability to stand back and judge but you miss the long-term perspective. You can cope with the new, but you don’t see people evolve.

Et moi? I am the poster child of ‘staying in one place is not necessarily a benefit.’ Many the time I have consoled a parent who was howling that they had to move when “dear Augustus is so happy in his school” and they have to “up-root” their dear Buttercup. I say, think not of “up-rooting” but “re-planting in richer soil with better light.

I lived in the same place from first grade to graduation and was generally miserable, met no kindred souls and started to bloom when I left. I have joined five companies and moved to three foreign countries without knowing a soul. Difficult but just see how splendidly I have turned out.

And speaking of childhood, like all normal and right-thinking children, when I watched Léon: The Professional, I longed to be adopted by an assassin who would teach me to dispatch bad people. I mean it was all well and good when she finds a home for the plant, but was she going to learn anything at that school which was as much fun (or as useful) as learning to shoot people through peepholes?

Movies like Red Sparrow, Anna, Salt, and Black Widow (and I guess all the fuss with Jason Bourne) teach you that you do not want to taken as a child and put into a institute to become an assassin. Assassin training is only fun with the personal touch of a kind fatherly-figure, i.e. Hanna does not count. That father-figure was far too cranky.

Was thinking of this while watching The Protégé . Charming indeed to see a movie just be a movie, letting Samuel L. Jackson be Samuel L. Jackson without throwing all sorts of plot and existential angst on top of him. Maggie Q plays a smart woman who vanquishes le riff-raff and her personal demons. How amiable! Just what one would want to see in a night’s entertainment.