The Hidden Message in “Maleficent” (and How It Can Heal All of Us)

Maleficent is a movie about wounds and the strange, hopeless ways we try to heal our wounds with power. But it is also a movie about the beautiful, hopeful way we can actually heal our wounds…

Maleficent

Image Used With Permission

[Note: If you haven’t seen Maleficent yet, Spoiler Alert!]

As I walked out of Maleficent with my family, I asked my kids what the movie was about. My son looked at me and said, “It was about how Maleficent was made whole again.”

In the end, Maleficent is a story about how we are all made whole again.

Of course a kid could see it.

After all, it was the child in the story—Princess Aurora, the unwounded one—who reminded Maleficent who she was beneath all the layers of wounds and power and vengeance. In the end, the Sleeping Beauty in the story was not Princess Aurora; the Sleeping Beauty was the loving and lovely child hibernating in the depths of a wounded, villainous heart.

We are made whole again when we are reminded—usually by the innocents among us—of who we really are beneath all our layers of wounds and power…

When the sleeping beauty inside of Maleficent awakens, she gives kisses and reverses curses and crushes thrones and takes down the wall of thorns bordering her homeland and removes her crown for good. In the final scene of the movie, Maleficent’s former throne is in the background and it sits conspicuously empty.

Because when love shows up, thrones gather dust and power gathers rust.

This is an excerpt of a guest post I wrote for Disney’s Babble.com. To read the rest of this meditation on wounds, the ways we try to heal our wounds with power, and the way we can actually heal our wounds, click here to read the rest of the post

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Disclaimer: My writings represent a combination of my own personal opinions and my professional experiences, but they do not reflect professional advice. Interaction with me via the blog does not constitute a professional therapeutic relationship. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor who can dedicate the hours necessary to become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. I do not assume liability for any portion or content of material on the blog and accept no liability for damage or injury resulting from your decision to interact with the website.

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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  • Colleen Shields

    Rarely does a movie amaze me with a ‘surprise’ ending; Maleficent was one of those gems. A welcome reprieve from the usual motivations of an entitled, vengeful generation, its priceless message was brilliantly executed; showing how love is the ultimate healer, leaking through to heal a once bitter, and hardened, heart. With poignant reminders like these, perhaps there is hope for future generations, after all.

    • drkellyflanagan

      I’m very hopeful, Colleen. Hopeful that this growing generation will see through the illusions of power and then, when they get to the point of being able to assume power themselves, remember what they saw.