Freitag, 22. Dezember 2017

Real Gratitude Shouldn’t Be Easy: On It’s a Wonderful Life

Like many people without a particular religious creed, I’ve imagined Heaven in a variety of ways over my lifetime. As a kid, I pictured it as a giant ball pit, like the ones you see at Chuck E. Cheese, though ruled by neither God nor animatronic rodents. As a bigger kid, I imagined it as an infinity pool that no one ever peed in. But now that I’m an adult—now that I’ve seen Frank Capra’s 1946 film It’s A Wonderful Life countless times—I can only imagine Heaven as a thankless military bureaucracy.

Consider Clarence, the AS-2, or “angel, second-class” played by the character actor Henry Travers. When first we see him, he’s been dispatched by God to squire Jimmy Stewart through visions of a yuletide netherworld. He strikes us as perhaps a little homely for Heaven, with his gentle Muppet face and billowy eyebrows. His clothes look thrifty, even threadbare. He has a single shirt to his name—the same one he died in—and a single ambition: to gain a rank and his proverbial wings. Practically speaking, this means he has to work on Christmas. ... [mehr]

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