One of my favorite movies as a child was The Last Unicorn. I’ve only watched it once as an adult, and I was struck with how sad the story really is. It’s not just a pretty movie about unicorns. I watched it again tonight, and I was struck by the deeper meaning in the story, if you look. One thing I took away form it is that greed destroys beauty, innocence, and magic. Another is a quote from Schmendrick the Magician – “There are no happy endings because nothing ends.” The second part of that is hopeful, in a way, but the first, bleak.
Obviously we grow with age, but sometimes it amazes me just how much. A child is too innocent to grasp the message about greed. The unicorn Amalthea is like that child. She can feel sorrow, but she cannot regret, or love. Children love their family, but do not truly understand the meaning of love until they are older. Children are pure, good, untouched by evil (though some might argue against the evil part!) Amalthea’s journey to seek the others like herself is akin to a child’s journey to adulthood. When we leave the safety of our forest we are subjected to the cruelties of the world – greed, ignorance, evil. But we also learn the wonders that are possible – love, friendship, bravery.
I never before cried at this movie. Tonight I cried six times; the first at the opening credits, as the unicorn began her journey from the safety of her forest. It made me think of my own journey in life so far, my own lessons about the existence of greed and ignorance, of the dangers of blind trust. In a way, it makes me long for the simpler time of childhood, when the world didn’t seem to harsh and complex. But of course no one can stay a child forever, and even if we could, we would miss so much beauty incomprehensible to the eyes of a child. I suppose what I really want back is just a little bit of that childish wonder, carefree attitude, and belief in good and magic. I can have that, if I let go of my pain and bitterness, forgive those who have wronged me, and let myself trust and believe.
I can be The Last Unicorn.