There Really Should Be A Separate Rating System For That

Since becoming a parent a little less than three years ago (and maybe during that pregnancy) I’ve had a problem with movies and tv shows where children or parents die. This can be a problem if you consider that on some level all people are either the child or parent of someone – but I think we can all agree that there is a certain level of obviousness that makes the difference between okay and not okay. I watch medical dramas like Grey’s Anatomy and crime dramas like Fringe and Bones so I’ve had to kind of adapt to some of the lower levels of obviousness and I’ve come a long way but sometimes it’s just not okay.

We rented In Bruges to watch tonight – it’s about some guys who are hiding out in Bruges, Belgium after committing a murder that went wrong – as if a murder could go right. My husband was really enjoying the movie so I humored him despite being a bit bored. I can deal with movies about serial killers – usually you can kind of suspend that belief that nobody actually deserves to be murdered and run with the good guy / bad guy theory. This wasn’t the problem. I was doing fine while the main character murdered a Catholic priest for unknown reasons other than the known fact that the main character is a hit man and this was a job. But then after he’s shot the priest we find out that a stray bullet also hit a small boy, school aged, but very young. In church.

I’m six months pregnant and emotional and already have a problem with aforementioned dying of parents and children so we know this is going to go poorly for me. I had to make Dan turn the movie off – even if the subject wasn’t mentioned further – and maybe especially if it wasn’t – the damage was done. I’ve seen that now. It’s tainted a part of my heart, added another irrational fear to my list of things to worry about despite my lack of ability to control such a situation. That boy did nothing wrong but was in the wrong place at the wrong time – except that wrong place was a location most people could never even dream of fearing. It’s like the worst thing to fear ever basically – because to actually let a fear like that control you would mean being unable to simply function in life.

And I know I’ll be fine – for the most part – by tomorrow the image hopefully won’t be haunting me anymore and by the time I fall asleep tonight the urge to burst into my son’s room and just hold him for dear life will have been resisted – you know that’d make for a bad night, my son hates being woken up! But it’s still there – I honestly wish I’d never ever ever seen that. I can remember a similar moment in the movie Crash, except that it didn’t really happen – and the child was okay and despite my heart stopping for a few minutes, it was okay, because those sweet, kind directors let me get off the hook – and assured me that no, that didn’t actually happen and everyone is fine. Everyone should do that – if only for my sake!

I look at how sheltered our kids are now compared to generations past, just due to the large amount of information mothers have now, how can we let our kids have the freedoms we did or our parents did? How can we let them just walk off into that dangerous world where bullets fly and hit people they weren’t intended for and mean, bad people do mean, bad things? We know they are out there and it’s our job as parents to protect them from those truths. We can’t pretend that it isn’t real and that it’s just a script that can be rewritten. And I accept the fact that bad things happen for no good reason and that I can only protect my children so far – that I cannot protect them from things over which I have no control. I can make peace with that – but when I’m watching a movie or tv show to unwind and relax and let my mind be entertained – I can only deal with so much of that. I am going to need a lot of Teen Disney-esque distractions and magazine flipping to get through those few minutes of In Bruges and be able to sleep tonight.

I know some people like these kinds of plots that make your heart maybe jump a little and have you thinking on a different level, like wow those things happen and isn’t that deep. Me? I worry about those things without the influence of tv and movies. I’ll take stereotypical teen heart throbs falling in love and singing to each other about it while fighting masked bandits who never actually hurt anyone and maybe they become a princess at the end. I’ll take a break from my brain which already fears anything and everything hurting my babies or taking me away from them. I do that on my own – I don’t need a talented, overly imaginative script to add to my list, please and thank you.

Don’t get me wrong – I like smart movies – a lot – I just prefer they avoid that whole area where my uterus starts crying for things that haven’t happened. Stimulate my brain – talk religion, politics, money – any other vice is fair game – just don’t hurt those imaginary moms and dads and kids who can only ever make me think of my own brood – leave them alive please. And their pets – let them live, too. And I know this a long shot and you movie makers not reading this have no control over it, but if my husband could get the job with Dream Company that’d be great, too. Because I just started flipping through the premiere issue of Fresh Home magazine which I’m reviewing for Momma’s Review and it’s awesome and I want a subscription but first we need a home address for it to be delivered to and a job to pay the subscription cost. Feel free to deliver that message to the appropriate gods, mkay?

What about you? Anyone else share my inability to deal with kids dying in movies and on tv? Or is there some other don’t go there topic that you avoid like the plague?

9 responses to “There Really Should Be A Separate Rating System For That”

  1. jen@ourdailybigtop Avatar

    I definitely do not like shows that seem too real (like Criminal Minds). It gives me an uggie feeling in my stomach. Yes, I remember an episode of Private Practice – I’ve definitely become more emotional with kids.


  2. Jen @ mommablogsalot Avatar

    @ Nancy : So true! I’ve had to stop watching Private Practice because they do it SO much!


  3. Nancy Avatar

    I’m totally there with you on kids being hurt or dying in TV/movies (not so much the parents, though I don’t like that either). My husband actually turned off an episode of CSI when Alex was a baby because of something horrible that happened to a child. Private Practice is a show that seems to have bad things happen to kids a lot. I don’t know what the writers have against kids but they really must not like them.


  4. Scrappy Girl Avatar

    I hate when animals die in movies…like Old Yeller.


  5. Thoughts On Blogging « mommablogsalot Avatar

    […] 5, 2009 by Jen @ mommablogsalot Last night’s blog post inspired me to rethink the way I blog. It felt so refreshing to simply open up a new post and write […]


  6. Jen Avatar

    This was exactly how I felt about the movie Sleepers. I just couldn’t get it out of my mind and it gave me nightmares. I also have a really hard time with movies where animals are abused or hurt. I really liked In Bruges, though. Sorry it was disturbing for you.


  7. Jean M. Avatar

    I’m right there with you. I can’t watch those kind of movies either. I don’t think it’s specific to kids either, it’s the good funny sidekick who was killed for no darn good reason..that really ticks me off too.
    I also don’t go there if it has to do with some kind of sexual predator. I think there’s some others too but I’ve stayed so away that I forget what they are.


  8. Rochelle Avatar

    I stopped watching ER over an incident that I won’t tell you about in your emotional state. But, yes, I know tragedies happen in real life; it was just too much for me to bear and it haunts me to this day, a good 4-5 years later.


  9. meg Avatar

    I am the same as you. Before I had Gage I don’t think watching movies and shows where a child dies or his hurt bothered me so much i wouldn’t watch it(of course it did bother me though). Now if I’m watching a movie or a show and on the info it says its about a child who is murdered or kidnapped I cannot watch it at all. I have absolutely no interest in watching a movie or a show around that subject.

    I can keep writing but really i’m just saying the exact same thing you did.