I love the dirty old south. I love the sibling relationship. I love the ending and its lessons, hard and sweet as it all is. I love seeing a complicated time through the eyes of an honest, brave little girl. I love the motherly influences that are incorporated at different times to the motherless children. Most of all, I love Atticus, what he did, and what is.
Atticus reminds me in almost every way of my grandpa. He and Gregory Peck look ever so much alike, so after seeing the movie it went from difficult to impossible to think of his character without thinking of grandpa. Please note they are at quite different ages in these pictures -- use your imagination. I couldn't find a picture of grandpa when he was a young buck.
Grandpa, like Atticus, was more concerned with his family than anything. Hard work was the only thing that would do. Dignity at all cost, because without dignity how could life go on? The responsibilities of a family were probably overwhelming to them, (and Atticus was alone) so he/they did the best they could, relying on the values they knew to guide them. Despite the taxing responsibilities, they were strong, soft, and warm. They had an honest answer to any question. Have you ever had a leader, religious or secular, who was so trustworthy and warm that you had no other thought but to follow them? It's easy when you know they're smart, they genuinely are working toward your best interest, and their actions show time and time again that they love you. I've had several of those, within and without my family tree, and grandpa is one of the first to come to mind.
Anyway, this movie was on tv today and I sat there and cried like the babies in our ward. In this world that seems to be so angry, so mistrusting, so misleading, so conflicted, so quick to jump at the throats of a person, a political group, a religious group, anybody, I wish we had more Grandpas and Atticus Finches. People that will do what's right because it's right, it will keep themselves and their loved ones safe, and don't consider the alternative. People who stand up for good but are calm and rational and don't need to be the loudest or the center of attention. People who don't assume everyone is out to get them, but just go about their way and fulfill their responsibilities. And when everyone else is acting like an idiot, at least they know they can do better and the rest can figure it out or lie in the sloppy bed they made.
That's all. Here's to the real leaders that make things better, and here's to Grandpa and Atticus Finch.