The Short Happy Life of “The Snowman”

Okay, it’s going to get Christmasy soon, so I thought I would try to shape the Christmas I want. I think we all do it. Through decoration and choice of songs and events, we shape this important holiday. Well, I’d like to craft my holiday with “The Snowman,” my second favorite Christmas story, next to Jesus.

“The Snowman,” Raymond Briggs’ christmas story made into a wordless film about a boy who goes on a midnight adventure with his snowman–complete with a flight up to the north pole to dance with a whole bevy of snowmen, and a brief encounter with Claus–is beautiful and heart-breaking. The music that accompanies the story brilliantly illustrates the emotional mood of the story, and if you’ve ever heard the main song sung in the film, it probably gave you chills.

That driving piano rumbling–that rolling and rolling in a minor key makes the moment exist between wonder-filled and ominous. Some of the scenes of the flight show a whale as a shadow in the water; some have the boy almost falling; but through it all, the snowman keeps a-hold of him, and the other snowmen fly in formation like blue angels around the pair as they glide over a winter landscape.

With every snowman story there is a theme of how temporary life is. Even Frosty the Snowman lives a short happy life. I love how “The Snowman,” without words, is able to put the joy and sorrow of friendship in one story.

And there’s something about this scene that makes me long for a snowman of my own, someone that still might take me on an adventure. I’d like to think that’s the kid in me, maybe. But I know it’s something more grown-up and universal–a longing for companionship, a feeling of being chosen, and desire for the world to have real magic somewhere–a little surprise still.

Maybe this Christmas, eh?

2 thoughts on “The Short Happy Life of “The Snowman”

  1. Kater November 26, 2008 / 9:59

    That was a cool little film. I like how the kid trills everything he can while singing; made me think it wasn’t in English for a while.

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