Reed’s Fifth Favorite Film

13 May



I have always loved animated movies and many of them would rank among a larger list of my all-time favorite movies. But of all of the ones I’ve seen throughout the years, this little gem from 1999 holds a unique place in my heart. It’s criminally under-known, although everyone I know who has seen it expresses great praise for it. The story feels like one of the Ray Bradbury or Steven Speilberg fables about childhood in idyllic America and coming-of-age via elements of fantasy (i.e. ET or Something Wicked This Way Comes). Yet, the deeper well in The Iron Giant is what it has to say about identity. Many stories have dealt with the tension between how others perceive you and how you really are, but Iron Giant deals more directly with a more challenging theme: what if the purpose in your nature directly contradicts the purpose which you have chosen? Admittedly, the film’s last third can feel a bit heavy-handed, but the substance of that question (Are we who we choose to be rather than who our nature tells us we are?) is beautifully treated in this movie. When the metal machine of the film’s title finally answers that question directly, I dare you not to choke up. It’s a warm, touching, funny, and constantly engaging story that inspires me exponentially more the more times I view it. When I first saw it, it instantly entered my top 25. Less than ten years later, I gladly place it here.

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