Recently, for family movie night, the fam selected Dune. None of us had seen it. I did some quick research: Appropriate for a ten-year-old? I mean, she's seen Lord of the Rings, and Jaws, and other such things.
I learned that there was one brutal-ish death in the movie, and we started watching. With half the movie done and no particularly brutal death transpired, I found myself anticipating it with every tense scene. A couple of times I said, "This might be scary," or "You might want to cover your eyes," and finally, annoyed, she glared at me and said, "I've seen death, Daddy."
A few days later, she asked me to pick a movie for her. She had criteria: It should be magical, or be about robots, or be very suspenseful or stressful.
"How brave are you feeling?" I asked her.
She knew immediately what movie I was going to suggest. "A.I.?" She thought it over. We'd tried this movie a few years back. The scene where David, the robot child, is goaded into eating real food, causing havoc in his inner mechanisms, had frightened her. "Let's do this," she said to me now.
But as the studio logos began, she seemed restless.
"I'll warn you about any scary parts," I told her.
She said, "If you don't, I'll kill you."
We both cackled.
When the movie was over, she looked at me, a little fraught, and said, "I have to go find Mama." She climbed into Felicia's lap and held her, and let herself be held. Not because she was scared. Because a movie about a boy and his mother got under her skin in the best way.