The unbearable melancholy of the Snowman

The snowmanE has started to love watching television. Or to be honest, she has started to love watching two short films on DVD. TV in general she’s still not bothered by. But she loves watching the film of her favourite book, Room on the Broom, and she loves watching The Snowman.

This pleases me. I love The Snowman. I was seven when it first came out (the film not the book) and I remember watching it with my family. My dad would point out the discrepancy at the end where the snowman melted yet the rest of the snow was still there. My grandpa loved the Snowman too. The simple charm of the story would appeal to him. And I imagine we all related to the nostalgia for a childhood filled with the almost mythical snow it depicts.

E finds it very funny. She likes the bit where he switches noses, and she’s started to count down to the part where they start running to take off and fly. “Are you ready?” she says. “Are you steady? Whee!”

She doesn’t find the ending upsetting. In her world snowmen melt and that’s fine. They melt in her books and so they also melt in this story. The boy sinks to his knees at the end and she just watches, impassive. Of course the snowman’s gone, I can almost hear her thinking. He was magic, he couldn’t last for more than a night.

I find the ending even worse now than I did when I was a child. But then I find the whole thing rather sad. The music is lovely but there is an unbearable melancholy to the main theme tune. I find it sets the tone for the whole piece. The boy seems lonely and isolated and for his only friend to melt after a night just seems cruel. And yet what other ending could there be?

It’s a masterpiece. And one that genuinely has appeal across the generations. So tomorrow I imagine I will happily put it on again to watch when I’m asked. And then try not to cry.

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This entry was posted in Motherhood, Observations and general nonsense, Parenting and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The unbearable melancholy of the Snowman

  1. John says:

    The film of Dot and the Kangaroo has very sad but brilliantly done ending – my four year old (think it was about then) cried for more than 20 mins – I cried less so tried to comfort her.

    • basfordianthoughts says:

      Belated reply – but thank you for highlighting this, I’ve not heard of it! Now I’m torn between going to find out and trying to avoid in case it upsets me…

  2. dirtyboyblog says:

    It’s strange how watching this film with my sister when I was a child made me excited for Christmas and the anticipation of Christmas morning. Yet now as a farther I find it (and the newer snow dog) melancholy to the point of tears. I think as an adult i see the sadness and loss in it rather than anything magical. That said it’s an incredibly nostalgic piece at the same time and a must watch at Christmas. Glad it wasn’t just me that felt like this.

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