The Thing I Like About …

When A Stranger Calls (2006):  the heroine is a very good babysitter.

The bad guy in Stranger is a very bad guy – at the beginning of the film, his earlier victims are found in a state so grisly that the audience isn’t even allowed to see it.  His willingness to target children specifically speaks to his evil character, and the uncanny way he has of being everywhere a moment before anyone else is almost supernatural.  He is portrayed as an unstoppable creature so omnipotent and so malevolent that the only thing the protagonists can hope for is a quick death.

But our heroine Jill (played by Camilla Belle), even though she is terrified beyond reason and can think of no way to outwit the bad guy, has her priorities straight.  She never contemplates leaving without the children she is babysitting, children she has never met before tonight.  She stays as calm as possible in front of them, and gives them an example of confidence and determination.  She puts herself in danger to lead the bad guy away from the children, and she endures much pain because of this … but the children are saved unscathed.

My fear is that, in the real world, many of us would be too frightened even to save ourselves, that our efforts to save the children would be thwarted by our tendency to show them the worst kind of infectious despair and fear.

My hope, in watching such a shining example of what-we-should-be/do, is that, if evil ventures into the real world and I happened to be out for the evening, my babysitter would be as awesome as Jill is.

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