You would think that we would want to protect our children. With all the Mary Whitehouse types running around, yelling “Think of the children!” it’s easy to get the impression that adults want kids to stay in a nice, safe, emotionally static bubble. Never exposed to anything painful or uncomfortable. But you wouldn’t know it by taking a look at the kind of films we watched as kids.
Seriously. Sure, people get sad when they watch Terms of Endearment or Schindler’s List, but if you want to see some real tears, show them a kids’ film. Almost any one film will do. All of the best stories have some deep, emotional subtext going on, and in a lot of ways, films were our first exposure to the really dark stuff. Death. Loss. Existentialism. I mean, you would think that they would save that stuff for when you’re a little older, but I guess not, since Disney has made a career out of emotionally crippling the youth of the nation.
Looking back, I genuinely wonder how we made it to adulthood without lasting emotional damage from watching these films as children. But we did (well, for the most part). So let’s celebrate those kids’ films that we can’t believe were allowed to be as horrifyingly depressing as they were…
This article was first posted on January 7, 2014