The Lion King makes me cry. It reminds me of my dadby Stephen Feber / September 20, 2003 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2003 issue of Prospect Magazine
I cry in films. I don’t mean a discreet eye-watering but lip-biting, painful weeping. I cried during The Lion King, Lost in Space, Free Willy, probably in Toy Story and certainly in Doctor Dolittle. My children are used to this but it still worries them-they remain dry-eyed and stoical through the most heart-wrenching movie moments. After years of practice I can mostly cry semi-silently. Occasionally, though, my control goes and a low-key lamentation escapes, rolling across a quiet part of the film. At this a dozen, small, screen-lit faces turn towards me and my son digs me in the ribs and hisses “D-a-a-a-d!”
Outside of the cinema my children cry at life’s normal reverses, after falling, losing a pet or when their best friend switches sides. My wife cries too, sometimes for causes which are mysterious. Even when I understand the reason, I haven’t got the hang of crying with her in sympathy. I just cry in cartoons.
It started with The Lion King. A young lion has been banished from his homeland after the death of his father. In exile he has grown strong and in one scene agonises about returning home to take up his father’s mantle. As he wrestles with the problem, his father appears to him as a ghost. Old lion and young discuss what the young lion should do. At the moment the father turned to leave, I was hit with a wave of grief so hard and heavy that it could only be cried away.