- “The Sound of Music” is a feel-good dopamine hit for when everything is going wrong in the world.
- To me, the film is more than an Oscar-winning masterpiece – it’s the cornerstone of my childhood and has been a safety blanket for everything from driving tests to job interviews.
- The 1960s musical shows a little mischief can be crucial to your daily happiness, karaoke is good for the soul, upcycled clothes can be incredibly chic, and dating bad boys is never a good idea.
- Throughout the coronavirus lockdown, watching it has helped settle the cocktail of anxiety, insomnia, and paranoia that has been stirring in my mind.
- Watching Julie Andrews twirl on a mountain top has ultimately allowed me to exhale.
As lockdown restrictions start to lift around the world, a cocktail of anxiety, insomnia, and paranoia has been stirring in my mind.
I’d just about settled into our dystopian reality of banana bread, Zoom quizzes, and TikTok dances when, in the UK, “stay home” changed to “stay alert,” and I panicked.
I started fearing selfie sticks flooding local beauty spots, furlough payments drying up, and having to choose between employment and a ventilator.
In a pre-pandemic world, I’d turn to reality TV shows for light relief. But right now – with “Tiger King” inspiring anger, “Too Hot to Handle” making me feel about as attractive as a traffic cone, and reality meaning more than 100,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US, with nearly 60,000 more in the UK – watching life as things once were doesn’t feel right.
Instead, I’ve called on my failsafe dopamine hit: “The Sound of Music.”
For those who still have the pleasure of watching it for the first time, the plot centres on a young nun who becomes a governess to seven children in 1930s Austria. She teaches them how to sing, falls in love with their ex-Naval captain father, ousts his Champagne-drinking, ball-gown-wearing fiancee, and uses her former abbey and stellar vocal range to escape the Nazis. Maybe it’s better if you watch it yourself.
To me, the film is more than an Oscar-winning masterpiece. It’s the cornerstone of my childhood and has been a safety blanket I’ve worn for everything from driving tests to job interviews. Nervous about reverse bay parking? My internal Alexa plays “I Have Confidence.” Can’t remember a time I performed well under pressure? Cue “Climb Every Mountain.” Coronavirus? Assemble the convent choir, stat.
I first watched the 1960s musical on my grandparents’ olive-hued sofa in the early noughties, and was transfixed for the whole two hours and 55 minutes by its playfulness, singalong tunes, and Baroness Schraeder’s outfits.
As I got older I began to appreciate its historic context and sweeping scenery, and eventually found a new appreciation for Captain Von Trapp’s dry wit and blue eyes.
Ultimately, what watching Julie Andrews twirling on that mountain top allows me to do is exhale. I’m transported back to harmonizing “Eidelweiss” with my grandfather circa 2003 and reminded that at the end of every struggle comes something good.
A little bit of mischief never hurt anyone
Roguish behaviour is the rule of law in the Von Trapp household. The young children use a pine cone to play a practical joke on wayward-nun-turned-governess Maria, while Leisl sneaks out to waltz with the blonde-haired, blue-eyed postman.
Then there’s seasoned troublemaker Uncle Max, who openly admits to being a money-grabbing social-climber, not to mention the badass nuns who know their way around a spanner and sabotage a Nazi convoy.
The family provides a masterclass in how to add mischief to your daily routine. Whether it’s downloading a funny background for your next Zoom call, letting your Labrodoodle deliver a sales pitch, or following the lead of that GMA reporter who “forgot” to wear trousers on national television, we could all use a little more of it in our lives.
Karaoke is good for the soul
During a thunderstorm, new nanny Maria sings “Favourite Things” to help the children feel less scared. They reel off cream-coloured ponies and schnitzel with noodles until the Captain crashes the party and restores the regular regime of misery.
He, too, is eventually won over by the sound of music and performs “Do-Re-Mi” at a Nazi-sponsored talent contest to help James Bond his family out of Austria.
We could all benefit from embracing a bit of quarantine karaoke, whether that means rounding up the best of Ari, Lizzo, and Dua on Spotify or converting your shower into the Royal Albert Hall. Either way, you’ll forget all about scorched sourdough or failing to master playing the guitar (again).
Upcycled clothes can be incredibly chic
Maria arrives at the family’s stately mansion to find her charges answering to a whistle and being treated like a naval crew. When she discovers they don’t have any play clothes, she gets creative and makes some out of her bedroom curtains.
The children swap their sailor suits for paisley overalls – which look like something you’d find Cara Delevingne rocking at Glastonbury – and Friedrich and co. cycle through the streets of Salzburg like they’re in a H&M advert.
Lockdown is the perfect excuse to get crafty with your wardrobe. That might mean turning your boyfriend’s oversized Ralph Lauren shirt into a crop top, tie-dyeing your wine-stained tee, or taking scissors to your mum’s favourite designer drapes. What could go wrong?
Texting your ex is a bad idea
A teenage Liesl von Trapp falls for Rolfe, the family’s delivery boy. They dance by moonlight in the garden gazebo and sing “Sixteen going on Seventeen.” He warns her of eager young lads, rogues and cads, only to join the SA and turn her family over to the Nazis.
Maria, who has spent more time in a covent than being wooed by uniformed suitors, is left picking up the pieces, and delivers a musical sermon about the benefits of not dating pretty boys.
Let Leisl teach us all a lesson about using the COVID-19 pandemic to rekindle any romances. Don’t Whatsapp that pilot you went for one espresso martini with in 2014 or send a gin-sponsored “I miss you” message to one of the ghosts from boyfriends’ past. Seriously, don’t do it.
Channeling your inner diva isn’t always a bad thing
Maria von Trapp was the OG feminsit trailblazer. She chose love over duty, renounced her solemn vows, adopted seven children, and managed to hoodwink Hitler in the process.
But she isn’t the only one burning metaphorical bras on screen. When Baroness Schraeder cottons on to the fact her betrothed is falling for the help, she packs up her polka dot blouses and devilish one-liners and returns to Vienna like the strong, independent, sickeningly wealthy woman she is.
If there was ever a time to embrace your inner noblewoman, this is it. So, don’t feel guilty about charming your way into getting the last bag of flour at the store and snap that new Miranda Priestly hairdo like you’re in the September issue.