Opinion: Charlie Brown, an Emerson Student in the Making

Sammi Curran ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
With the start of the semester comes a mountain of papers, readings, and tests for students. With all this work comes an even larger mountain of stress. In rough times like these, sometimes one good movie is all it takes to make a person feel like their world isn’t crumbling.
The Peanuts Movie was released one year ago to very positive reviews. It’s a light and entertaining movie for both a younger audience and the older audience who know the Peanuts cartoons. While Snoopy always tends to be the fun standout to kids in the Peanuts world, it’s worth remembering that Charlie Brown’s story has an important message that college students can remember in times of stress.
“You will never get that kite to fly. You know why? Because you’re Charlie Brown!” Lucy tells Charlie in the opening scene of the film. From that moment on, the viewer is invested in seeing Charlie Brown succeed. Charlie has always accepted being the butt of everyone’s joke, but in this movie, he’s ready for change. His motivation comes with the appearance of a new girl. To impress her, Charlie tries dancing, writing a book report on War and Peace, a magic trick at the school talent show, and even simply returning the girl’s pen to her, nothing seems to work. In each failure, it isn’t hard to put oneself in Charlie’s shoes. Everyone in life wants to feel worthy and loved. People want to know that they matter and that they can do something right. Charlie’s anxious thoughts quickly spiral into feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing. He doesn’t believe he can ever get the new girl’s attention.

The Peanuts Movie. Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
While the reasons may be different, college students feel the same kind of anxiety Charlie experiences. Maybe they aren’t doing enough in their lives, or maybe they are just destined to be swamped with worries and the fear of failure forever. Charlie overanalyzes every step he takes. He constantly confers with Linus about whether the girl has seen him at recess and what kind of impression he’s making. It’s truly exhausting for him, and the viewer can’t help but hurt at seeing Charlie feel so down about himself.
The ending of The Peanuts Movie is where college students can find much needed advice. It seems so simple in the movie, but all Charlie does is muster up the courage to try and fly his kite one more time. He doesn’t give up, and finally the kite soars. Incidentally, the kite leads him directly into the new girl’s path. For the first time, Charlie reaches his goal and gets to hear what she thinks of him. What surprises him is how much she admires him. As she puts it, his attempt at dancing was brave, and the effort he put into the book report was sweet. Charlie was impressing her all along by just being himself. Hearing all of his good qualities and successes out loud also allows him to realize that he isn’t an awkward failure. He’s a good person.
College students can take this to heart. Times are stressful, and sometimes it can feel like drowning. The Peanuts Movie shows how putting your best effort forward is more than good enough. In times of high stress, maybe a viewing of this movie can help remind viewers that nobody is perfect and everyone is valuable.

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