It took 30 years to turn Stephen Sondheim’s stage musical Into the Woods into a movie, and the results are mesmerizing. The casting, voices, costumes, cinematography and set design are beautiful. While a couple of songs from the stage didn’t make the transfer to film, only serious theater nerds notice the difference.
Into the Woods is a mashup of fairy tales. The moral of this particular story is that our wishes — marry a prince, have a child, transform from ugly to beautiful — may come true, as happens at the end of act one, but even wishes have consequences. Princes stray, loved one die, giants destroy the village.
My favorite number comes toward the end of the movie, when four characters remain and band together to battle the giant . “No One is Alone,” is an elegy on forgiveness and the power of relationship.
Sometimes people leave you
Halfway through the wood
Others may deceive you
You decide what’s good
You decide alone
But no one is alone
Life is like that, right?
Friends become enemies, marriages end, businesses fail, applications get denied, disease becomes too burdensome, people die, love goes unrequited. Even so, we press on.
People make mistakes thinking they’re alone.
Forgive them. It’s not just a Christian tenet, it’s a humanity thing. Grace and love are the imperative here.
We also make assumptions that we know what’s real and right. There are always two sides or more to every story. Not every injury, real or perceived, is intentional. Let it go. Life is short. The world is too small. The struggle is very real, as is death, disease, mayhem, and giants in the sky.
You decide alone how you react to what life throws at you, but no one is alone.