By Catherine Hutinett
*Spoiler alerts* From the families of the 1940’s and 1950’s, and now to little ones of the 2010’s, Charles Schultz’s characters continue to leave an impression on the hearts of people around the world. One of the greatest things about Schultz’s Peanuts characters is that they can be loved anyone, at any age.
This past weekend, I took my grandma on a date to the movies, to continue a tradition that started with my cousins in the 80’s. Every holiday when ABC played themed Charlie Brown movies, all the grandkids could expect a call from grandma saying that he would be on TV the Tuesday before the holiday. In addition, every sleepover at grandma’s would include all cousins eating popcorn and off-brand root beer, and watching Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown. Needless to say, when we stepped into the theatre, we could hardly wait for the movie to start.
It was very possible that of the 50 little ones in the theatre, only a handful had seen classics like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, or A Charlie Brown Christmas. But what’s so special about the Peanuts characters is that they work in any context of time.
The movie focuses on classic points of childhood that anyone can relate to, starting with a snow day. In the midst of snow day antics, a girl, only referred to as the Little Red-Haired Girl, moves into the house across the street from Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown instantly develops a crush on the girl, and hides in his house, fearing having to confront the girl. At school the next day, she shows up in Charlie Brown’s class, on the day of a standardized test.
It’s not too long before she gets a glimpse at how much of a “blockhead” he is, so he must turn to his trusty pal, Snoopy, who helps Charlie Brown attempt to win the heart of the girl, who is assigned to be her partner for a huge book project. This is of course met with challenges like the school dance, the talent show, and the results of the standardized test. Especially when Snoopy discovers a typewriter in a dumpster, and decides to write a story about his adventures with the Red Baron, and an imaginary love of his own, instead of helping Charlie Brown.
*SPOILER ALERT* Of course, in the end Charlie and Snoopy both get their girls, but the story of Charlie Brown and friends is more than that. Anyone can write a story where the hero gets the girl, but director Steve Martino made a story that encompassed 50 years of work by the late Schultz. In doing so, it was a new story that felt familiar in a cozy, nostalgic way. The movie truly appeals to all ages, a hard feat to accomplish. If you do not believe me, ask the older man who was loudly cackling two rows back, or my 15 year-old sister, or the toddler sitting in front of us who giggled at the “silly puppy” and the “circle heads. ”