It’s been two weeks since I watched The School of Good and Evil, however it wasn’t until yesterday when I was getting ready for church that my mind suddenly articulated my thoughts, or rather the lessons I learnt from the film.
Those lessons include how the good can be corrupted, and how evil sabotages itself.
Let’s start with how good can be corrupted.
Before Agatha and Sophie were dropped off at the School of Good And Evil, Agatha was seen associated as the evil one, a witch, whom her lighthearted fairytale loving friend, Sophie saved from their judgmental town folks.
Despite being considered bad and witchy, even in the School of Good, she was the first to ‘see’ the problem of turning someone into an animal simply because they failed their assigned tasks thrice. She further saw the absurdity in judging the good in someone by their smile, or fake heroic acts. Indeed, when watching the movie for the first time, it grates on one to see the so-called ‘good people’ so frivolous and vain-obsessed. It took Agatha making the unselfish wish that she and her friend return home safely, to unintentionally liberate the wish-granting fairy’s soul that was trapped in the wishing pool for years; and she could have saved her classmate, if not for the brainless Prince Tedros who killed the poor lad turned monster. All he ever wanted was to do was farm and own a grocery shop. Since, when did working to feed the population, both good and bad become so unnoble and un-good-like?
True , like Agatha portrayed, never changes. It never gives up on friends, not even when they act badly towards them and seem irredeemable. Let’s be honest, at some point of being persistently evil, some of us would have abandoned our friend to her fate, accepting the skewed though that one is either completely good or completely bad. But as Agatha said, “No one is completely good or completely evil. We are just humans. As humans, we have been called by God to strive for perfection. But none has ever attained perfection, but the effort we make is what God rewards with the grace to get closer to him every day.
But if good turned insipid, pride ruined evil. Rafal Mistral in his arrogance thought he has disarmed good by making it turning it frivolous and insipid, thus, it is no more a match for him; but as the saying goes, “pride goes before a fall”. Why drag Agatha along and keep her in School of Good, when Sophie was willing to attend the school with or without her friend? It is evil’s (Rafal’s) pride at work against itself. By thinking that as a witch, Agatha is bad, or perhaps that no matter how good she may be, she is no challenge, so, will never influence her friend with her goodness and unconditional love. This is how evil set itself up for its fall.
To you, fellow humans, who are all works in progress; we, who are seeking perfection in the image of God our Father: “Remain good. Do not water down the good and the right. That is just following the crowd. Be your brother’s keeper and friend; do not give up on friends or loved ones easily. You will not always get through to everyone, but there comes a point where prayer is the sole answer. Always speak up for others, especially in the truth of your experience of them. If someone treated others badly but your experience of them is nothing but good, say it aloud so everyone hears it. It could be their salvation or remedy. Finally, always self-reflect, and meditate on your life, acts and intentions. It is a good way of discerning if you are actually on the path of good, or simply a covering of worse things beneath the surface.