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  • Writer's pictureJulie

What makes a friendship Extra . . . special?

Movie: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982 Movie)

Authors: Co-Produced and Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Melissa Mathison (and Spielberg)

Notes on Content: Science Fiction / Fantasy. Rated PG (Some strong language, substance abuse, mild violence/distress, but I consider it to be appropriate for most ages (parents may want to speak with children about what they see and hear together). A box of Kleenex may come in handy.

The Plot:

The story is about a 10-year-old boy (Elliot) who is struggling emotionally after his father left his wife and three children. Elliot longs for a good friend, which he finds in an extraterrestrial being who is stranded on Earth. The two become linked mentally, emotionally, and physically. The boy, his siblings, and their friends help the being, who they call E.T., hide from the government and Elliot's mother, regain E.T. and Elliot's health, communicate with other extraterrestrials, and return home. The relationship between Elliot and E.T. is a beautiful portrayal of friendship and caring for someone else more than oneself.

A Lonely Boy Finds an Extra...Special Friend

"E.T. Phone Home." (Expressed by E.T., Gertie, Elliot...and millions of viewers), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was one of the premiere science fiction fantasy films. According to Steven Spielberg, the concept for the movie was taken from an idea he had after his parents divorced. The screenplay was later written by Melissa Mathison, and it worked so harmoniously with Spielberg's idea that the first draft was said to be used as the final production script. this award-winning movie was released in 1982 and again in 2002 with additional scenes. For many, E.T. set the bar for science fantasy films.

"Beeeeeee...gooood." (E.T. to Gertie), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

I remember the excitement generated around this film. The story, special effects, California

scenery, and actors lived up to the promotional campaign. It touched the hearts of children and adults who have ever felt the need for a special friend. My friends and I even explored some of the neighborhoods in Los Angeles and later, the Redwood forests. We enjoyed seeing actual film sites!

Most kids will feel lonely or bullied at some time in their childhood and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial filled theaters with children of all ages who laughed, winced, cheered, and cried as we watched the bond develop between Elliott and his new friend. Along with E.T., Henry Thomas (Elliot) and Drew Barrymore (Gertie) melted hearts with their emotion-filled performances.

The story shows the development of friendship not only between Elliot and E.T. but also between the other characters (siblings, friends, and adults). Disjointed relationships can be repaired, renewed, or further damaged through small actions and emotionally charged conversations. Lasting friendships usually require some 'give and take' (usually not equally represented at certain times, but balanced over time). And sometimes, we realize we need to say 'goodbye' to a friend.

In Universal Studios Orlando, Spielberg helped design a ride dedicated to this movie that touches on one of the story's central themes and finds a personalized way of making each visitor feel like they may have a friend looking out for them.

" E.T.: Come...

Elliot: (solemnly) Stay...

E.T.: (puts his finger to his glowing heart) Ouch.

Elliot: (mimics the same action, tearfully) Ouch.

E.T.: (E.T. and Elliot embrace each other, then E.T. puts his glowing finger to Elliot's forehead) I'

Elliot: (tearfully) ... Bye."

(Conversation between E.T. and Elliot), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

How can we help children cope with loneliness or bullying?

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