To begin with ‘Trolls’ seems like any other typical children’s film. The ‘good’ characters are colourful, happy and/or cute; the ‘bad’ characters are less brightly coloured and grumpy. But as the story evolves children learn that individuals are not defined by their appearance or even their outward behaviour. Kitty tells us why she thinks Trolls is a great candidate for the Mind Media Awards 2017 Film Award, sponsored by ODEON.
‘Trolls’ beautifully intertwines an uplifting children’s film with a far more profound sub-plot that recognizes some of the struggles that everyone faces.
Understanding the complexities of mental health can be hard enough for adults, but trying to explain difficult feelings to young children, such as anxiety, loss and sadness, can be even harder. Children who are suffering are often isolated as their behaviour isn’t understood by their peers. ‘Trolls’ is a ground-breaking film in this regard. It is filled with colour, songs and imagination yet it also deals with some really challenging issues that most children will face, whether as an observer or as a sufferer.
Initially we meet two main characters, Poppy and Branch. One is incredibly popular, confident and social smf this is reflected in her cheerful pink colouring. Branch is very anxious, defensive, negative and solitary, reflected by his grey skin tone. Some of the community have ostracised Branch as they do not understand his behaviour.
The film shows children that by including Branch and giving him an opportunity to open up about his feelings, they help him to move on and start to enjoy life again. He also has to face his fears – which in the film are the Bergens – and in doing so overcomes them.
Children can learn to be kind and understanding to others and realise that there is often a deeper reason for behaviours that they might consider strange. But there is also the lesson that although we may face trauma in life it can be overcome by sharing the burden with our friends and by facing our fears.
‘Trolls’ also goes a step further as the creatures that are considered terrifying in the beginning – the Bergens – are revealed to be simply sad. The Bergens do not know how to achieve happiness and think that they can only feel this emotion by eating a troll. The key is self acceptance and finding joy in everyday life. The realisation that the Bergens weren’t bad, they were just very sad and desperate reminds children to be kind and to help others.
In summary, Trolls demonstrates the importance of compassion for others despite their behaviour or their appearance. The redemption of Branch and the Bergens by the end of the film is a sign of hope for those who are struggling and a reminder for others to seek to understand before passing judgement.
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