“When I see the way that mankind loves… You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful.” Taken out of context, this statement bears even more profound truth than it does within, and the lesson it teaches is superbly illustrated by this month’s movie recommendation.
Stardust (2007) not only teaches us to be careful what we wish for and never to underestimate the value of that which we don’t understand, but also that sometimes we focus so much on what we think will make us happy that we completely neglect the happiness that is right in front of us.
Young Dunstan Thorn cannot allow his curiosity about the mysterious wall just outside his hometown, the village of Wall, England, to go unaddressed. Upon crossing the wall, he encounters a young woman, captive to a witch, selling flowers. She sells him a white snowdrop flower, in exchange for a kiss. They share a night together, and Dunstan returns home. Some time later, a baby is left at the wall for Dunstan – a baby named Tristan.
Years later, Tristan is trying to satisfy a different desire – a desire for love and marriage. He has taken to a young woman in the town of Wall, named Victoria. Despite the fact that Victoria clearly doesn’t return his feelings, when she and Tristan see a star fall beyond the wall, they agree that if Tristan can return with the star as a gift for her for her birthday the following week, she will marry him. Tristan tells his father, and is in turn told the story of Dunstan’s adventure on the other side of the wall. By way of a magic candle, Tristan is teleported to the star, which it turns out is not a hunk of cosmic metal, but a young woman named Yvaine. Tristan and Yvaine find themselves on an incredible adventure filled with witches, familicidal princes, lightning pirates and more, and discover what truly matters along the way.
Charlie Cox (Netflix’s Daredevil) and Claire Danes (My So-Called Life, Little Women) lead the cast, augmented by Michelle Pfeiffer (Scarface, Batman Returns), Robert De-Niro (Raging Bull, Meet the Parents), and many more. Cox perfectly portrays a young, inexperienced, and somewhat naive man with big dreams and an even bigger heart, and Danes perfectly portrays a larger than life being who is trying to understand and appreciate (and escape) this new world where she finds herself trapped.
While Stardust is a wonderful family movie, unlike previous picks, it is rated PG-13. While I personally feel that it is perfectly appropriate for most children, it may have content (violence, horror, and mild crude humor) that parents may not deem suitable for young children. I recommend reviewing the Parents’ Guide on imdb.com to assure that the content is appropriate for the audiences which will be watching. If seeking an exciting, fun, unique, and heartwarming film for your next family movie night, I can confidently recommend Stardust. I am certain that viewers will walk away not only delighted, but with a profound reminder that sometimes all it takes for us to truly “shine” is finding the right inspiration. (Wood is a Serve Daily contributor.)