“Light bulbs die, my sweet. I will depart.”

Mr. Magorium


I enjoy truly good movies in that they take metaphorical characters to the extremes to make a point. And I love it when they do so to make a point about life … and living life which leads me to Mr. Margorium’s Wonder Emporium. It’s an odd movie, but it is an odd delightful movie about Life.

And metaphorically speaking they box you in with the characters:

  • – the cynical practical responsible ‘grown up’ (lovingly called Mutant) who has lost the joy of imagination (let’s call it the magic in life)
  • – the child who represents the joy that can be found when you are open to life’s magic
  • – the mystical adult (Magorium) who lives in an adult world with a decidedly un-adult view (and is slightly an outcast)
  • – and the hopeful future (Mahoney) entering the adult world with the spark of magic within, but has trouble seeing how that spark fits in an adult world (lets call her ‘hope eternal for that which is magical in life’).

Let me begin with the ‘hopeful future’ and the resistance Life has a habit of shoving in the face of those maturing into adulthood. Life, left to its own devices, will more than likely try and smother ‘hope’ with ‘harsh reality.’ what this does is make things just a bit darker, a little less brighter and sparkly. which leads me back to the movie. Mr. Magorium suggests to Mahoney: “you have a sparkle”, i.e., something reflective of something bigger trying to get out despite Life suggesting otherwise.

His advice?

You have to live … “I have.”

Short line. Big thought. And maybe the biggest tipping point decision one has to make moving from youth to adulthood. And it is a biggie of a decision. Many of us don’t really do that well with this decision.


Between these 4 characters you wander through pretty much every aspect you have in your own pea-like brain. And while the movie is meant for kids it is also fun and a bit thoughtful for adults <if you pay close attention>.

Mr. Magorium who has decided it is time for him to leave this world and let Mahoney run the shop <symbolic for youth to adulthood>. Magorium is awesome. He is a man with crazy eyebrows and a pet zebra and has owned his toy store for over 113 years. Obviously this isn’t an ordinary toy store (note to self: is any really good toystore anywhere truly ordinary?). This is a magical toy store that has a temper tantrum when it hears the bad news Magorium is dying. The problem is that only Magorium knows that he’s dying. He’s not sick or weak, and he doesn’t foresee some violent or accidental death. He just knows <and this may be one of the best parts> because he once found the perfect pair of shoes and fell in love with them so entirely that he bought enough to last his whole life.

And now he is on his last pair.

Therefore, his life is over.

And with that he states ‘light bulbs die … he is simply departing’.

What a wonderful thought.

He is departing ‘a whole life.’

Don’t we all wish we could end that way? And maybe there is a part of us who like the concept of departing rather than dying.

And maybe make us think a little, through this incredibly strange character, why is his life whole (that is pretty much what the movie is about and showing how others can also live a whole life)?
The easy lessons (kind of). He does not judge, but sees things with fresh and open eyes. He doesn’t condemn actions simply encourages to act & think differently. He treats time as a gift of freedom to think and remember and understand that which was, that which is and is willing to recreate that which is … well … impossible … to transform time.

Its not just having an imagination; it is an attitude.

“you have to believe it to see it.”

And when I heard that I went back into my files and pulled this Buckminster Fuller thought: “seeing-is-believing is a blind spot in man’s vision”.

Both are correct. It is a failure of imagination if you solely believe something must be seen to be believed. Ok. Maybe not even a failure of imagination maybe something worse. It is almost a belief that nothing new, nothing seemingly impossible, is possible.

So. This sometimes silly movie makes you think about all of this is and about learning to, well, unlearn some things. To free yourself from all the things that you ‘know’ and the things which may keep you from undiscovered roads. And that sometimes believing in something is more important than anything else. And asking you to remember that all things which happen to you endlessly beget new thoughts that could change your life (and it’s a never ending process).

And if you do that?

Well. Life is magical.  It’s kind of like a magical toy store as it is.

And with that thought you hear the best advice of all:

“Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”

Yeah. Life is an occasion.

In the end that is what the movie makes you think about. The magic within you, within any of us and that we need to rise to our magic, our sparkle, our Life … or lose it.

And that is the point for Molly Mahoney who also represents “hope eternal” for all adults (the metaphor).

“What Mahoney needed was the opportunity to prove to herself that she was something more than she believed.”

Silly movie with a non-silly lesson.

You need to believe in you. And, I guess, believe that you have some magic somewhere inside you.

It is a neat lesson. It is an important lesson. And a lesson provided in a pretty magical way.

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Written by Bruce