Thursday, 29 May 2014

Sleeping beauty as a lesson in restorative justice

I have written before about Disney's ongoing attempts to create new fairy stories: I am not wild about the idea but (...yes I know despite huge box office takings for Frozen) it can work. I am in two minds about Maleficent. Essentially it a revisionist, radical, feminist re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty where the women come out of the film far better than the men. Which, when you consider the original story, is a reasonable sort of post modern re-balancing. Of course it is a film aimed at 7 - 12 year olds...

Does it work though? The narrative is a bit clunky and some of the special effects are a bit fuzzy (an effect of having a 3D version too?). The acting is pedestrian and Angelina seems to rely upon raising her eyebrows more than she usually does... And I am curious as to why all the accents are either English, Scottish or Irish... (You can see I was distracted). There was not much of a buzz in the cinema either: very little laughing or oohaahhing from the young audience. But probably in the end, worth seeing if you are ten, and half term is getting tedious.

The leadership message? Wings are mighty helpful when is comes to assuming command? But seriously, I would say that the underlying theme is how to deal with regret. In the film we are given two starkly contrasting approaches: fail to deal with it and become ever more bitter. Or allow yourself to recognise what it is doing to you and do something about it. In other words, restore yourself by restoring the person you have harmed.

This is a key feature of restorative justice of course which is as applicable to criminal justice system as it is to the workplace. People do bad things and people make mistakes. A good leader will look for all ways in which balance can be restored. It is not always possible to find them, but it is always possible to look.

When was the last time someone really messed up? How did you respond?


This is the thirty first of my new series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I am doing this. Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.

No comments:

Post a Comment