Family Conflicts

The movie Radio Flyer, starring Tom Hanks and Elija Wood, is a wonderful
example of a film which illustrates family conflict. Radio Flyer is the story of a father,
played by Tom Hanks, telling a story about his childhood to his to young sons. The
childhood of the father was an extremely unpleasant one which involved much physical
and mental abuse from his new stepfather he and his brother called “the king”. The
stepfather was a drunkard who liked to administer pain to the youngest boy, Bobby,
whenever he was intoxicated. The children do not want their mother to know what her
husband had been doing to Bobby, so the eldest son, played by Elija Wood, helps Bobby
hide his wounds. The mother in this picture is waitress who works all throughout the
day. The stresses of a nine to five job make her very edgy and she is very vulnerable to
lashing out at her kids. When she does this she hurts the kids mentally. The conflict in
this movie is resolved in an unconventional manner. Bobby and his brother create a small
airplane, using a lawn mower engine and some wood, for Bobby to fly away in. The last
few scenes of the movie show “the king”, drunk as usual, chasing Bobby and his brother.
Bobby decides that this is his time to get away from it all and he flys away. The police
then arrive with the mother and arrest the stepfather. Bobby is now gone but he keeps in
contact with his family by postcard. This effectively resolved the conflict but Bobby was
now gone. To me this symbolizes his death. Two children could not have made an
airplane, and even if they could there would be no way that a eight year old boy could fly
the thing.