“You’ll float too.”
When I read those three words on the poster on the wall outside the theatre, I felt there was a much deeper meaning to them within the world of Stephen King’s “It”,which first entered the world as a novel in 1986, was adapted for television in 1990 and is now playing in theaters.
i began to understand the weight of the words “you’ll float too,” and the meaning behind the sentence in the very first scene where we are introduced to a little boy named Georgie. For Georgie, the idea of being able to float comes from his brother Bill, who is crafting a paper boat for him.
Bill asks Georgie to get some wax from the basement. When the younger sibling questions this, Bill simply says, “You want it to float don’t you?” Thus, the little boy goes to the basement to get the wax for his paper boat, christened SS Georgie, because he certainly wants the boat to float. In a way, Georgie wants to float as well. Therein lies the metaphor behind naming the boat SS Georgie.
In the scene where Georgie meets Pennywise—a being who appears as a clown to children and kidnaps them—he tempts the boy–coaxing him to his lair with the comforting phrase, “We all float down here.”
The concept of floating as the goal is an interesting one to me and is further explored by Director Andres Muschietti through the other children in the story: Beverly, Richie, Eddie, Mike, Ben, Stanely and Bill, all of whom are friends or become friends through the course of the story.
As the film progressed, I observed that each child has a fear of some sort, whether it is bullies, over protective parents, a tragic accident, or in Beverly’s case —sexual abuse.
I realized, it is their fear Pennywise is after because he feeds on fear and is the reason he sets out to consume each of them. He capitalizes on their fear, exploits it, and offers them the solace and comfort of floating, as though floating were the sought-after thing.
What transpires instead is what I feel to be the beauty and mastery of both King and Muschietti’s story telling ability.
As the children become friends and share the harrowing experience of encountering Pennywise on multiple occasions, they each overcome their real-life monsters. They become stronger individually because of their friendship with one another and are ultimately able to stand up to the thing that has been terrorizing and feeding on the children of Derry, Maine.
By the end of the film, I had an epiphany: “It” is not merely a horror story, but an allegory to the fears and terrifying things we all experience and must overcome in life, so that we too can float above those things that threaten to sink us.
Having never read the book, I was able to truly experience the story. Each of the characters felt real. Especially the group of friends, who reminded me of friends I had growing up. For a movie to feel that real and true to life is a credit to Muschietti’s direction of the film and Gary Dauberman’s adaptation of the book into a screenplay. As a result, I am eager to get my own copy of “It” and read every word on it’s 1,000 pages.