So the critics didn’t like it? I loved Oz. In fact, am wondering where I can get James Franco’s (Oz) top hat and Mila Kunis’ (Wicked Witch of the West) beautiful red coat. And, of course, this prequel to L Frank Baum’s classic tale is chock full of life lessons:
From the Wicked Witch of the West, we learn to embrace our shadow selves. She started out more sugary, sweetness and light than Glinda the Good! This, we quickly learn, was her effort to keep her anger under wraps as she hadn’t let learned to harness this power and control it. Had she owned her anger and recognised that it didn’t make her evil, just normal (I guess not human as she was a witch), she wouldn’t have been so quick to give up on herself.
Also, don’t make decisions which will affect your entire future (such as biting into an apple – my name’s Eve, apples always make me a little wary but even West’s wicked sister warned her that one bite would be all it would take and there’d be no going back) when in the throes of betrayal or broken-heartedness. Take some time to heal. Wallow a little but don’t give up everything you’ve ever valued for some instant gratification which ultimately only hurts you.
Sure, when your heart is hurting, the idea of never feeling again and having it wither away may well feel appealing. But as Brene Brown says, when we numb ourselves pain, shame, vulnerability and so on, we stop being able to feel the full spectrum and miss out on joy, love and everything else. Let yourself feel your pain. Cry. Talk to loved ones. See a therapist! When you feel good again – you will, I promise – you’ll be in a stronger position to make the kind of decisions you’re far less likely to forget.
Oz teaches us that even when we feel like imposters, we can turn our lives around and actually accomplish amazing things. When Glinda told him, ‘Use your magic’, he initially forgot most of his resources by wallowing in the knowledge that he wasn’t the wizard they’d all been waiting for. When he got out of his self-pitying spiral for long enough, he was able to think about how his experience had equipped him for this journey and stepped up to the plate.
He reminded me a bit of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind – she so desperately wanted to be a ‘great lady’ like her mother, kind, compassionate, virtuous, patient… ‘but not yet.’ Oz was so hung up on becoming ‘great’ that he totally dismissed ‘good’.
Whatever you want out of life, don’t let the gap between where you are and where you want to be discourage you. Allow yourself to be bad at it. With time and practice you’ll get better and you may even become great!
Glinda the Good teaches so much. Only Michelle Williams could have made her so emotionally 3D. (I’d been sure I’d leave wanting to be Kunis or Weisz’s character but nope, I totally want to be Glinda.) Just because she was labelled ‘the Good’ didn’t mean Glinda shut down painful emotions. She allowed herself to fully feel her grief over the loss of her father. She was more honest with Oz than anyone else about his shadow aspects while also encouraging him to be more than that.
Glinda wasn’t out for vengeance but she also knew she had a right to defend herself and her people. She fought back and, most of all, reflected others’ (am belatedly attempting to avoid spoilers) toxic magic back at them. In your own life, protect yourself by taking whatever practical steps are necessary. But keep your heart open.
The only thing I didn’t like was the insinuation that an ugly exterior reflected a person’s real self. We live in an airbrushed world in which even ‘Beast’ in Beauty and the Beast is a good looking man. Studies show that good looking people are treated better than less good looking souls and it would have been great if Glinda had encouraged viewers to look beneath the surface but hey, she had endured several near death experiences and even fictional characters aren’t perfect.
The Flying Monkey teaches us to wait before pledging allegiance to someone who may not be honest. As it turned out, his belief in Oz helped him become a better man but it could have all gone horribly wrong…
Ultimately, use your magic – appreciate and honour all of your resources. Whatever gifts and experience you have, share them and have faith in yourself.
Much love xx