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‘Haunting’ Movie Moments from Idol Chatter

posted by Nell Minow

On Idol Chatter, Kris Rasmussen has come up with a two-part list of haunting moments in movies that is well worth exploring and every one of the films and those added by the commenters is a worthy addition to your Netflix queue.

I like her definition of “haunting” — “cinematic points in time that bring revelation to our souls in some big or small way.”

The moments that haunt me tend to involve extraordinary kindness or devotion. Some that I would add:

1. The last moment in Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. He has sacrificed everything to pay for an operation to restore the sight of a young woman who believed he was wealthy. In the last moment of the film, she touches his hand and realizes the tattered and almost broken man before her is her benefactor.

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2. “Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passin.'” In To Kill a Mockingbird the children of Atticus Finch are sitting in the balcony of the courthouse with members of the African-American community and learn from the way they respond to him how important and meaningful his integrity is.

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3. Helen Keller learns about language in The Miracle Worker. Teacher Annie Sullivan shows the blind and deaf girl that she can communicate.

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4. A family farewell in A Man for All Seasons. Sir Thomas More’s family comes to say goodbye to him in prison after he has chosen almost certain death rather than compromise his principles.

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5. Erin Brockovich visits the families. At one home she smiles at a terribly sick little girl and gently teases her about how she is so pretty she must be driving the boys crazy. For one moment the girl and her family get a glimpse of a life in which they have the luxury of worrying about boys instead of worrying about chemo.

  • Wendy

    I teared up just reading the line from _To Kill a Mockingbird_. What a moment!

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Wendy. The last line always gets me, too:
    “He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”

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