Film Friday: Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them

When Newt Scamander arrives in New York with a suitcase full of incredible and rare creatures he soon gets into trouble when a few of them escape. One of them, the Niffler, is particular mischievous, always on the hunt for shiny jewellery…

The authorities see these fantastic beasts as monsters, endangering the city, but Newt has a different vision, he knows they are rare and precious, not dangerous. He is on a vital mission to return them to a safe place, and to pass on his message about caring. To do this he has to overcome all kinds of hurdles; and make a few unexpected friends too, in the shape of sisters Tina and Queenie, and Kowalski a hapless muggle (or No-Maj, as the Americans call them).

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History is littered with unlikely heroes who find themselves caught up in a struggle to do the right thing. Rosa Parks got on a bus one day in Alabama and by the time she got off she found herself on the front line in the battle for racial equality. A little guy called Gideon was making bread in seclusion one day when he found himself commissioned by an angel to fight oppression. A young 14 year old was minding her own business when she heard she’d been chosen to give birth to the Messiah. We’re about to remember and celebrate the repercussions of that. The changes brought about by the courage of Mary and her husband-to-be Joseph, were costly, courageous changes that continue to have far-reaching effects. Newt Scamanda’s very survival comes under threat as he battles various trials and terrors, and the same happens to Mary and Joe. From the moment Mary says ‘yes’ she knows that she must face the shame of her family, and the wrath and misunderstanding of her community. What she doesn’t know is that their new baby will still be very young indeed when dark and brutal forces are set against them, a storm of insecurity and hatred brews up in the guise of Herod, and armed soldiers come looking to destroy them. If we’re ever tempted to call Christianity a crutch, it’s worth taking another look at the nuts and bolts of the Christmas story. ‘A sword will pierce your heart,’ Mary is told by an ageing prophet. Her call is a tough one. Her son will grow up to be not so meek and mild. He’ll rock this world, and need all his courage to see his mission to its end and out the other side.

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