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Fairy best wishes

Keira Knightley wants good role models, writes Claire Brine

No one is perfect all the time

MOST people don’t realise that there are troubled realms within the world. But one young woman owns the key to their secrets. What she uncovers will be revealed in Disney’s latest fantasy film, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, released at cinemas yesterday (Friday 2 November).

At a party hosted by her godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman), Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is presented with a golden thread. It leads her to a coveted key which, she believes, will unlock a box holding a priceless gift.

Suddenly, the key disappears. Before she can understand what’s happening, Clara is transported to a mysterious world full of strange characters. She meets a soldier called Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) and the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley), who welcome her to the three realms: the Land of Snowflakes, the Land of Flowers and the Land of Sweets. So far, so good.

But then Clara learns that there is trouble in another part of the kingdom. Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren) has started a war in the fourth realm. And the only possible way to restore the peace is for Clara to retrieve her powerful key.

It’s not an easy task. Mother Ginger is gathering her forces and won’t go down without a fight. Thankfully, Clara is strong. She’s independent and she’s brave enough to attempt to save the world – which appeals to Keira Knightley, who last month made headlines after revealing that she didn’t allow her young daughter to watch certain Disney films because they presented negative themes around women.

She said: ‘It’s not cool to wait for a rich guy to save you; save yourself. It is never cool for any man that you don’t know to kiss you in your sleep without consent.’

Even one of Keira’s favourite films, The Little Mermaid, came under scrutiny: ‘Never give your voice up for a man. Absolutely not!’

Rather than shower her daughter with depictions of submissive and weak women, Keira wants to display another narrative. She wants her to see different, more positive kinds of role models.

Whether we find them in films, sports, business, science, the arts or politics, many of us have personal role models. Perhaps we admire an individual for their work ethic. Or the fair way in which they treat others. Or their determination in times of adversity. We aspire to be like them.

But, even the saintliest of individuals can have an off day. No one is perfect all the time.

That’s why it’s worth looking further afield where we can find the kind of role model who will never disappoint us. And when we turn to the Bible, we can read the story of a perfect man called Jesus.

Jesus was God’s Son, who taught people that God loved them and was willing to forgive even their biggest mistakes. When Jesus died on a cross, he paid the price for the whole world’s wrongdoing. When he rose to life, he showed that, as humankind’s relationship with God had been restored, eternal life was possible.

Jesus loved the difficult people and those who were always left out. He stuck up for those who were oppressed. He taught forgiveness. He promoted peace. He didn’t judge others.

He also said: ‘Follow me’ (Mark 2:14 New International Version).

In the whole wide world, we couldn’t find a better role model.

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