If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the past week obsessively thinking about Cats. You’ve lost sleep wrestling with key plot points and trying to figure out the whys behind certain decisions. Well, I came across a quote from director Tom Hooper today, and I’m happy to report I (we?) did miss something: the political commentary.
The Academy Award winner for The King’s Speech sat down with Business Insider to discuss his much-discussed film, and during the chat, he said his musical adaptation is about needing to come together and not cast aside the fallen, the forgotten and the disgraced. You can check out a portion of his quote below…
The Jellicle, in a sense, its weakness is it is tribal. It's pushed to its margins. The fallen, the forgotten, the disgraced… I think the film at a thematic level is perhaps suggesting that we as a community are stronger when rather than dividing we reintegrate into our community the fallen, the forgotten, the disgraced. So central to the movie is a message about the importance of forgiveness.
Now you’re probably thinking wait, that’s not a political message. Oh but it is. In the same interview, Hooper clarified that he was talking about politics. Here’s the quote from that part of the interview below…
[It] is a reflection on today's political scene. Both in the UK and the US the tribalism of cultural discourse and politics is making it harder and harder for acts of kindness across the divide.
I’m normally a guy on the lookout for political themes and/ or social commentary when I watch movies. Not to brag but I’ve participated in several really pretentious conversations after screenings this year about whether the themes were too heavy-handed. Deciding what the director was trying to lecture the audience about is kinda my thing; so, to discover I completely missed this commentary in Cats is really upsetting.
At no point did I even consider there was a larger message here. I was just too engrossed in the songs and the dancing and the CGI and wondering what how big these cats are supposed to be. Now I’m just gonna have to see it again and view it through that lens. No offense to my parents, but it’ll be the best punishment I’ve ever gotten.
If you haven’t seen Cats yet at all, you need to seriously look in the mirror and examine your life choices. The film is currently in theaters, and thanks to horrendous box office returns, it may not be there that long. So, when you’re heading to the theater on Christmas and deciding between the best movie Adam Sandler has ever made (seriously, so effing good), the culmination of the most discussed franchise in film history and Cats, please please please make the right decision.