Today is the thirtieth anniversary of E.T. To commemorate this, I’d like to post a thoughtful quote that I encountered years ago on the review for the movie by Ken Priebe of Christian Spotlight on the Movies:
“Novelist Martin Amis wrote of the film: ‘Towards the end of E.T., barely able to support my own grief and bewilderment, I turned and looked down the aisle at my fellow sufferers; executive, black dude, Japanese businessman, punk, hippie, mother, teenager, child. Each face was a mask of tears—And we weren’t crying for the little extraterrestrial, nor for little Elliott, nor for little Gertie. We were crying for our lost selves.’ (p. 245, Steven Spielberg: the Unauthorized Biography by John Baxter.)”
The review then goes on to take Amis’ point in an evangelistic direction. Personally, I can’t pinpoint exactly why E.T. would touch such a wide variety of people. But it does, and I think huge part of the reason is that many of us feel lost. That may have been the case even for Stephen Spielberg, who reportedly based a large part of the movie on his alienation from his father (see here). A lot of people are broken, in a broken world.