3) Sometimes Rotten Tomatoes just nails it
With a 60% Fresh score, Rotten Tomatoes describes The Addams Family as “[a] movie [that] is peppered with amusing sight gags and one-liners, but the disjointed script doesn’t cohere into a successful whole.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t bother.
2) Christina Ricci runs away with this movie
As Wednesday Addams, Christina Ricci encapsulates the best parts of The Addams Family. The movie’s macabre spin on the family unit is never more clear than when stone-faced, 10-year-old Ricci extols the poetry of death with a precocious morbidity. It’s unsettling but mostly adorable to watch the character non-chalantly celebrate death and mayhem in all of its forms.
1) Fear of death holds you back from embracing life
Death is literally all around the Addams family house. The graves of generations of the family litter the grounds of their mansion. Every member of the Addams family treats violence and death with admiration, amusement, and reverence. The Addamses accept and respect death as a natural consequence of living, freeing them to explore the endless experiences that being alive has to offer.
Take Gomez and Morticia, the mother and father figures of the family. In a stroll through the graveyard, the couple imagines the future where they will be sharing twin graves besides each other, decomposing together for the rest of time. Their understanding, that death is a more permanent state of being than life will ever be, fills them with such passion that they cannot waste another moment, embracing among the remains of their ancestors.
This acceptance of mortality, demonstrated through morbid puns and casual deference toward suffering is what differentiates the Addams family from the rest of the world. Every non-Addams character is shown to be uptight, uncomfortable, and in a constant state of dissatisfaction. The Addamses, our heroes, have more joie-de-vivre, ingenuity, passion, zest, and spark than anyone else because of their comprehension of the non-permanence of life. Their embracing of death demystifies it, allowing for a full, informed appreciation of every waking moment.
For another look at The Addams Family, be sure to check out Caroline’s look at Gomez and Morticia’s BDSM relationship
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The Addams Family is also available from Amazon.