Yesterday I saw the movie Bedtime Stories. It is a delightful tale that provides helpful insight into the value of stories, of myths and fables. If you haven’t seen it, you may want to do so before reading this post – there won’t be any spoilers per se, but in offering some suggestions about the movie’s message and significance, I may give things away that are better discovered in the course of watching.
The movie’s message, in my opinion, is that classic stories and ones made up on the spot can be valuable, not because they tell us that there will inevitably be happy endings, but because, through our identification with the characters in the story, they give us clues on how to bring about happy endings. Throughout the movie, Adam Sandler’s character finds himself in situations unnervingly similar to ones in the stories he has told to (and with contributions from) his niece and nephew. But while the correspondences in the movie are at times surreal, the point is not: having stories as a guide helps us spot opportunities to act, contribute, be a hero, succeed, and do many other things – opportunities we might simply have overlooked if we were not “keyed in” to their potential to allow us to reenact mythic or other classic story elements.
And whether you attribute those outcomes to divine interventions or not, the power of stories themselves to shape our lives in positive ways, and to guide us into paths that lead us onward instead of giving up in despair, probably deserves to be called “miraculous”.
Bedtime Stories is an enjoyable, humorous, family-friendly movie, and I recommend it.