We’re officially into December, which means that Christmas kindness and cheer is about to get rammed down our throats like that girl on a pole in Cannibal Holocaust. I’m kidding. Okay, half-kidding. So while we’re all feeling good about ourselves, sometimes, we need to bring it down a peg by actually opening our eyes and taking a good look at the world around us. Namely, the there are people suffering and we’re too damned busy preparing TEH BEST CHRISTMAS EVAH! Here’s the good folks at Disney bringing us a spin on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl.
Dark as fuck, people.
This adaptation remains pretty true to the story, which is pitch black. It does leave out a few things, like the fact that the little girl in question does have a home to go to (it’s cold and dad beats her when she doesn’t sell matches), or that the only person that ever showed her kindness was her now-dead grandmother. In fact, it’s Oma that tells her that a shooting star means that someone is dying and will be brought to heaven. What I liked best about this film was that it didn’t sugar coat that this kid’s life sucked. Sometimes, we take for granted how good we have it. Yes, we may be annoyed by jobs or family members or traffic, but at the end of the day, most of us have it way better than this kid. We’re not shivering out on the streets, lighting matches for glimpses of warmth and happiness as we’re obviously dying in the cold. That’s the genius of this short: this child is dying. Nothing comes and saves her, save for the sweet relief of death. The animation is beautiful and the switches between the cold grayness of winter and the warm, rich household full of food and hugs with ease, but you can’t deny the truth. In the end, we’ve just watched a cold, hungry child die alone while trying to stay warm. It’s a reminder that sometimes, you don’t need perfection in these months; just gratitude for what you have, and a willingness to make someone else’s life better.