By Lily McCann
© Lily McCann 2014
When you ask most children what the most traumatising film of their childhood was, Bambi (1942) is likely to get mentioned. However, the movie actually teaches us a valuable life lesson in terms of grief and how to deal with it. In fact, Disney has become renowned for telling it like it is to children and helping them to understand life’s obstacles in a straight forward and honest way, without being too graphic.
Bambi’s mother is shot by a hunter when he’s still a young fawn; the death was uncharacteristically brutal for a children’s film, despite the death not actually being shown on the screen, and is often cited as one of the most shocking moments in cinema. The rest of the film shows Bambi trying to battle with the overwhelming grief he felt over the loss of his mother, overcoming this and growing up to father his own child with his mate Faline.
The main message is that it gets better; time heals grief, as well as support. His friends Thumper, a rabbit, and Flower, a skunk, are effectively Bambi’s support system throughout the movie, accompanying him on adventures and reassuring him of their friendship. Talking and sharing your feelings when grieving is a huge step in healing. Bambi loses the most important figure in his life, his mother, and this leaves him incredibly vulnerable mentally as well as physically. One of a child’s biggest fears is losing a parent or guardian and this is why the movie hit home so much with its young audience. The film shows the power of friendship and how vital they are to overcoming grief. Additionally, the love, protection and support from his surviving father – the Great Prince of the Forest – shows the need for your family to be there for you in times of grief, despite experiencing their own.