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Opinion: Why ‘The Grinch’ Has a Much Needed Message


It was a Friday night, the opening day of “The Grinch” when I kept my promise to take my six year old nephew to see it. After leaving the theater, I asked him one question, the answer to which led me to write this piece. “So now tell me, since you have fulfilled your dream,” I looked at the little boy with a question mark on my face, “What was your favorite part of “The Grinch?” It took him just a second to reply, “It was the scene when his heart got bigger.” “Why that particular scene did you like the most?” I asked back, “Because he realized that love, kindness, and care are the most important things on Earth.” Alex, my nephew, replied.

Animated movies is an important genre we rely on, as a secondary teacher to children, whose classes they attend through the silver screen. As we adults can fail to educate them on certain things, movies made for children find a creative way to deliver universal messages about kindness and evil, and what happens if one or another takes over the world. So the question is, how do movies manage to do what we aren’t able to? By having that little chat with my nephew after watching “The Grinch”, I realized the importance of highlighting the reasons of the new version of this beloved story, which is as relevant as never before.

How much do we know about the Grinch? Why was he so mad at the inhabitants of Whoville? What did they do to him that Christmas turned out to be his single worst day in a year? The narrator in the movie suggests maybe he had shoes that were too tight. Or, his head wasn’t screwed on right. But the last one was the most certain one, the voice suggests, his heart was two sizes too small. But if you remember, in the new millenium version of “The Grinch”, it suggests another reason, and the most painful one to admit – what if the Grinch was a victim of bullying?

We know that loving brings only love in return. Kindness spreads harmony and happiness as if it was a contagious virus. But hate spreads hate and brings nothing humane to any individual that lost its chance to exercise any gentle feelings. The Grinch was lonely. The Grinch despised everything in Whoville. And his only friend was a doggy, Max, loyal, always friendly and ready to serve. But if we dig deep into the Grinch’s personality, anything you might see in the film that appears funny is not quite what you may think. Because, it’s not an ordinary story of one creature that happened to grow into a mad man that thought, falsely though, by stealing Christmas he may finally satisfy his anger. So, let’s start analyzing what “The Grinch” is really about and why it must be seen by every child and adult both.

Bullying is not acceptable – Yes, we know what may happen if one child gets bullied at school and nobody tries even to prevent that. The consequences might hit peak levels with irreversible results. So, why we grown ups can’t deliver that message to our children? Why can’t we tell our little loved ones that if you hurt someone at school, in the street, or in any other place, expect the unexpected? What does that unexpected means though? Going deep into that explanation may cause controversy, but if you understand what I mean, then you already know we don’t want our children to grow up and become someone like Grinch, who, instead of stealing Christmas, may steal something else, even a life that belongs to someone else. “It’s better this way”, the Grinch says after locking himself inside a cave as the only way to escape unnecessary happiness that always finds a way in his life. Which again, if you pay close attention to Grinch’s words, is quite important.

Friendship must be unconditional. A true friend never asks the reasons why help is required, but should proceed without getting the details that are not meant to be heard by anyone except family members. However, Cindy-Lou was right when she told her friends, “If I am your friend, I care about your problems as if they were mine.” That line alone teaches how to care, share the moment and never stop helping, even if sometimes we may never know the true reasons behind it.

Doing bad things never bring satisfaction. And even if it does, it is a completely false and misleading feeling. A good person always has guilt, conscience, and the awakening moment. Grinch stole Christmas but even that did not cure the pain in his heart. Because, it never does. Because hurting can’t bring joy. When Grinch stole Christmas by sneaking out in the form of Santa Claus and stealing all of the Whoville’s presents, he saw them singing holding hand in hand as if nothing happened. That was the moment when he realized it’s not the material things that brings the holiday mood, but the presence of loved ones, whether they are with gifts or not.

Family is the most important thing and we should never let them get separated. With all the immigration crisis in the United States caused by the President Trump, watching one particular scene in “The Grinch” was somewhat refreshing. When the Grinch was ready to execute his heist, the reindeer was getting ready to begin its quest, when it was stopped by a child reindeer and its mother. First, when the Grinch saw that, he thought it is just the reindeer that bugs him, but shortly after he realizes that it was the family of the reindeer, and he sets him free. That moment teaches one thing all the politicians must learn – no matter how bad we are, no matter how cruel we can be sometimes, even the evil people should realize family is the most sacred thing and should never get separated. Grinch had, in his mind bad, awful ideas. But despite his agenda, desire and the pain he felt in his heart would not let the reindeer go through the same loneliness he himself had to go through his entire life.

Hating is easy, but getting to the bottom of the issue that causes a heart to turn into ice is much harder. The Grinch has suffered both psychological and emotional loneliness due to lack of friendship, attachments to others, or just relationships. The Grinch did not know that he is capable of love. He always knew there’s a problem bigger than Christmas that lies in his heart. But after befriending Cindy-Lou, he says, “All this time I though it was Christmas I did not like. But it was loneliness.” It is quite a powerful line that teaches us and our children that no bad deed is justifiable in this or any other life. And it’s important to realize that, doing evil, hurting people’s feelings won’t fulfil your day or life.

Just to conclude the above mentioned, “The Grinch” highlights important issues our society has, which unfortunately refuses to fix itself. “To love and kindness. The things we need the most,” says the Grinch cheerfully. The things that are lacking in our daily life, in the life of ordinary people or those who hold important positions. By watching animated movies like “The Grinch”, we must remember about the value it brings, lessons we can learn from, the point it delivers and why it must be seen in the first place. Beside what has already been said, anything can be cured. A bad person can become a good one, the rainy days will turn into a sunny day, the hurricane or stormy weather is meant to be in our life, to play some role so that we can be stronger and tougher. Any of us can be the bad Grinch, if we want to.

In the end, it is just an inconsequential matter which version you choose, the one that you see in the beginning, the Bad and ugly Grinch that does mean things, or the one you meet in the second part, cute and adorable human-like individual that finally learns to love. All these are important to keep in our mind every single day, because what we do, what we say are having an impact. If not on our life, then on someone else’s. Being mindful is a crucial part for all of us to start caring, which “The Grinch” is so good at describing thoroughly.

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