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Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory


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Great blurbsmanship! Not unlike what I wrote for the flick after seeing for the first time last fall...

WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (USA, 1971)

You stole Fizzy Lifting Drinks!.You bumped into the ceiling which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get nothing! You lose!

Psychedelic kid-flick is acerbic and plenty eccentric, true to its Roald Dahl origins: uber-brats Veruca Salt and Augustus Gloop are deliciously sour little twists, and Gene Wilder is a howl, especially in the mean and manic home stretch. But the sudden surprises of the film's ending transform it into a touching parable of culpability, relinquishment and restoration: contrast Grandpa Joe's perfectly understandable response with that of childlike Charlie, and think on Mark 10:15. "For of such is the kingdom of heaven," indeed!

I didn't know the film from my own childhood (or those of my children). I watched it because a friend at a playwriting symposium picked it as his "Favourite Film Ending", and it caught my attention enough to come home and watch it. I can't rank it in the Top Hundred, but sure did get a kick out of that ending!

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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Um ... link to the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory thread.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 15 years later...

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