The graphic novel I Kill Giants has a movie adaptation and it’s coming out in a big way. Barbara sees a world that the rest of us are either unable to see or that exists solely in her mind. In any case the movie looks like it might be a good one to go and see. It came out in September of last year and despite looking as though it might be an instant classic there hasn’t been a lot of buzz about it to be honest. For a film that has the look and feel of something not unlike Harry Potter but with a much darker story, this film is something that seems like it should be held in a little more esteem.
It’s very easy to slip through the cracks without marketing or other methods of delivery however, and many stories such as this have gone the same way, gaining fans only when enough people have discovered just how great they are. Barbara is the outsider, the loner that few if any people even look at. She has her older sister, one friend, and a school therapist that attempt to help her work through her many different difficulties that include being a social outcast and having a less than adequate home life. It’s not too hard to imagine why she has such a rich fantasy life since she’s considered odd and even a bit strange.
This story reflects upon a lot of kids throughout the world that might have difficult home lives and are forced to cope in some way to give their lives a sense of balance and meaning. Barbara takes this part of her story to a very dark place however, imagining giants that are bent upon little more than destruction and mayhem. Are they just part of her imagination coupled with her struggles or are they something else? The film tends to lean towards the former while teasing the latter, but the truth of it is that there are many kids around the world just like Barbara who need a way to feel accepted, loved, and in many ways strong enough to deal with the many trials that life foists upon them. I Kill Giants is a story about one such girl who has found a way to squash the inner demons that materialize as dreaded titans that threaten her and all she cares about, dark things that appear to do great harm to the world she knows.
It’s ironic really that as much as she seeks to escape the world she still fights for it in her own way. Those that enjoy a rich an fulfilling fantasy life will still tend to fight for the reality to which they just barely cling at times. There are many explanations why this is so, but remaining grounded is not always the case. It’s a familiarity that might not be entirely pleasing to them but it still comfortable no matter how messed up it might be.
We choose the fantasies that make us feel strong, so that the pain we feel in the real world feels a little less.
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