Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | March 8, 2009

Keen eye for the obvious, part 11

I finally saw Slumdog Millionaire last night, and, like so many others, I loved it. Today, I’ve been looking at other reactions to the movie (besides the obvious multiple Oscars it won) and came across this criticism in a column by Sudip Mazumber in Newsweek, who once lived in an Indian slum:

Most people in the slums never achieve a fairy-tale ending.

Isn’t that the point? Fairy-tale endings earn that modifier because they’re improbable. It’s unlikely that an enslaved stepsister will find herself with an extremely short-term lease on a carriage created from a pumpkin or that a lost glass slipper will lead a handsome prince to find her. If a tale contains a probable story line, it is not a fairy tale.

As a reader and viewer who often criticizes books and movies for their failure to convince me to suspend my disbelief, I hasten to note that I did not experience this problem with Slumdog Millionaire. Of course it is a fairy tale. It strikes me as unfair to criticize a fairy tale for being a fairy tale.


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