Since many critics and moviegoers have now shared their reviews of the film, I’ll withhold mine. But I thought it would be fun to see what my daughters thought of it. After all, like many parents, I am often surprised and entertained by how different my children’s views can be on an experience we (theoretically) have shared. Among their reactions:
- Despite excitement about the perks of going to the exclusive screening (including an early departure from school, an afternoon with mom, nice goody bag with T-shirts and pencils and bragging rights with their friends, they were slightly disappointed that the American Motion Picture Association Screening Room did not allow popcorn or drinks.
- They – presumably like most kids – were enthralled by the bright 3D visuals, the adventure (bed going down a waterfall), many of the jokes (disco mode on the automatic tree anyone?) and songs.
- As to the underlying environmental message, it seems I’ve been doing my job at home, because they said emphatically that they would not want to live in Thneedville, because “there’s nothing natural there.”
That got us talking about why we would want to keep forests alive. To pass the time on our metro ride home, they came up with a list of things trees are good for. Clean air – not surprisingly, given the movie’s message – was first on the list. The others:
- Shade and shelter – from the sun and rain
- Food – like apples, peaches and pears
- Beautiful colors (from leaves and flowers) that “make us cheerful”
- Fun (supporting a zip-line or tire swing, providing endless hiding spots for backyard games)
- Homes for animals
Practically, they also noted what we cut trees down for – firewood, paper, and furniture. Given a bit more time, I’m sure they also would have mentioned the benefits of climate control. After all, forests are the world’s lungs and air conditioners – the reason why keeping them standing, and replanting forests we’ve lost, is an important effort in helping keep the planet cool and safe.
So I’m thrilled that The Lorax encourages all of us to reflect on how nature makes our lives better and reminds me why I do what I do everyday. What lessons has The Lorax taught you and your family about nature? Share your stories in the comments section below.
Sarene Marshall is the managing director for The Nature Conservancy’s Global Climate Change Team. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and an MA in International Studies from University of Pennsylvania, and is fluent in Spanish. Sarene, a mother of two, enjoys gardening and gourmet cooking.
[Image #1: The author's daughters attend a screening of The Lorax. Image #2: Sarene's daughter, Lucy, draws her own illustration of the Lorax. Credit: Sarene Marshall.]