Even on the second night when It was released, movie goers filled seats online so fast only front row seats were left. From someone who has not had the pleasure of reading the book or seeing the first movie, character portrayals and the symbolism mirrored each other well when it came down to what the movie was about.
It is more than simply a scary movie, designed to send hairs rising on the back of your neck and for your heart to pound more furiously long after the movie has ended. It is more than about a giant clown with overdone makeup chasing children around in the shadows and haunting them with its obnoxious and deep, dark laughter.
As a horror author, Stephen King plays with the human nature and fears lurking inside of us. It especially reflects common but hurtful circumstances we learn to rise above, especially when we start leaving adolescence behind and must confront the real world.
Fears start when we are children and we start developing a sense of awareness about the world around us. For each child in the It movie, evil that haunts their lives, including a group of bullies who torment them to maintain a power image. Even the adults struggle with their own demons, like Beverly’s dad who is an alcoholic and sees her as his little girl in a twisted way. In the plot, each of the characters most face a challenging decision.
Fears take on many forms, which is also why It shows many faces to the children. Since Bill feels responsible for the disappearance of younger brother George, It appears as George in a raincoat with sad eyes and a missing arm. Because Stanley is an introvert and a misfit, he spends most of his time studying and so a thin old woman with a shrunk face and glowing white eyes steps out of a painting. These are just a couple of examples.
Then throughout the film, the repeated symbol, called a motif in a movie, is a red balloon. It sends a nostalgic feeling into your gut and is a portrayal of childhood innocence and fun play times with friends. The balloon lures the children when they are the most physically and emotionally alone and most afraid and tries to kill them.
What was so powerful overall about It, is the teeth that would open up into more layers the more frightened the children grew. As an adult, I see the truth of that influence in the power that overwhelms me when I make decisions based on my past. Sometimes you feel like you are being swallowed whole and cannot escape.
And what I took away from the movie It is that your fears never leave even when you believe you have won. There are always more forces to deal with and the thing is, there are no easy answers in how to resolve your fears or cope with them.
Because fears are real and they exist.
Sometimes all you can do is live your life each day and take your fears as they come. It is not just about standing strong on your own. Sometimes it is hard to determine who is on your side, but once you realize which ones are, take the confidence that they will help you through and you will end up being there for them too.