I watched the first half of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF with my ten-year-old daughter tonight. It’s a magnificent movie — tragic, exuberant, funny, heart-warming, provocative and ultimately life-affirming. It’s probably the 100th time I’ve seen the movie (not counting the times I’ve seen the play staged) and it never loses its power — and not just as a entertainment. I admire FIDDLER ON THE ROOF for the lessons it allows us to convey to our children, how it gets them thinking about things. Few movies today have that kind of impact.
I had to stop the movie several times to answer my daughter’s serious questions. We talked about what traditions are, why they are important, and why they change. We talked about our family history, about how her great-grandparents immigrated here from Russia…and why they had to. And we talked about racism and hatred and what freedom means.
She wanted to know why there are wars. Why people hate others for their beliefs or their skin color. And why we invaded Iraq. I wish I could say I had wise answers to all her questions. I didn’t. All I could do was tell her what I believed, and what I knew, and that she would have to come to her own conclusions. Tomorrow, we’ll watch the rest of the movie and she’ll ask me lots of questions. I’m looking forward to it.