Watch The Truman Show with my year 9 class this week, and for the most part, we had a blast. There were the fairly predicable groans of ‘We don’t understand what’s going on!’ for the first half, but I just keep reminding them to wait and see, and to trust the story. When the Big Reveal came, they were all like OHMYGOSHTHATISSOCOOLWAITWUT?!?!?! and it was fairly awesome. I have to say, though, that my absolute FAVOURITE moment of the whole experience was the bell ringing about 10 seconds before he crashes into the sky. Those of you that have seen it will know that that’s a pretty nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat kind of moment, and when I did the maths and figured out that’s when the bell would ring, I was like MOST. EPIC. THING. EVER.
Seriously. It was awesome. I mean, come on: how often do you get an entire roomful of teenagers BEGGING to be allowed to stay back at lunch? Bwa ha ha ha ha.
However, once we’d finished the film the following day, I was struck with a depressing realisation: MAN those kids are 21st century babies.
For those of you that haven’t seen the film, know that it ends rather openly. Does he get the girl? We don’t know. Does he go on to be happy? We don’t know. What takes his place? We don’t know. There’s a whole bunch of ‘don’t know’, and WOW o.O half the class could seriously not cope. They literally spent five minutes whinging about how it didn’t tie anything up, and asking if there was a sequel, and just generally carrying on in a way that made me want to bang my head against the wall.
YOU GUYS, I told them. There isn’t SUPPOSED to be a closed, definitive ending! The open ending allows you to use your imagination, and creates a sense of hope, and opportunities, and the freedom that he’s been searching for, and it’s THEMATIC AND IT WORKS.
They were less than impressed by this, at which point I gave up and started imitating a squawking baby bird. Argh, argh, argh! Feed me! Give me the answers! Don’t make me THINK!
They were amused, but I think I adequately conveyed my point. At least they were able to concede that the open ending serves a purpose. *sigh*