Self-Esteem and Body Image
Room for Improvement:
Gender Roles – Women
Gender Roles – Men
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 3 Stars
Sally is a far cry from conventionally beautiful. She’s stitched up in various places and occasionally loses her limbs. She’s intended to be frightening, more than beautiful. She still has an obvious grace and sweetness to her that sets her apart from the other ghosts and ghouls, but her physical appearance is easily eclipsed by her kindness.
Gender Roles - Women: 3 Stars (Spoilers)
Sally is a frankenstein-esque ragdoll, created and loosely controlled by Halloween Town’s mad scientist Dr. Finkelstein. Sally is restless with life inside Dr. Finkelstein’s lab and finds creative ways to escape her captivity. Like everyone else, she adores Jack for his imagination and talent in creating terrifying Halloween displays. But her infatuation with Jack doesn’t stop her from confronting him when she feels that he’s gone too far, and even attempts to sabotage his plans.
Gender Roles - Men: 2.5 Stars
Jack Skellington is in some sense a misunderstood villain as much as a traditional hero. He is gruesome and frightening at times, but he’s also a charismatic leader. He is egotistical and selfish, but also displays some warmth and compassion. Jack may be well-intentioned when he decides to take over Christmas, but his thoughtlessness wreaks havoc on Christmas Town. Had he paused to consider Sally’s warnings, or fully explored the strange feelings that Christmas stirred in him, he might have found a way to bring the spirit of Christmas to Halloween Town, rather than terrifying unsuspecting children with snakes and severed heads.
Plot: 2.5 Stars (Spoilers)
Sally isn’t much of a hero, but she does her part to try and save Christmas. She tries to talk Jack out of his plans, warning him of the disaster she sees coming. When he doesn’t to listen to her, she tries to prevent him from flying on Christmas Eve by coating Halloween Town in a thick fog. Towards the end, she even sneaks into the Boogie man’s lair to try and free Santa Claus. Unfortunately, all of Sally’s attempts are ineffective. But perhaps more disappointing than that, most of her plans are surreptitious and sly. Sally never finds the strength to take a stand against Jack or the townspeople. She obediently sews his Santa Claus suit and applauds the plan in public, but only finds the courage to rebel when no one is looking.
Character Development: 2 Stars
Sally is given a promising storyline as the film opens. She’s being held captive by the mad scientist who created her and is struggling for her freedom. She has some impressive talents when it comes to concocting potions. And despite spending most of her life confined to Dr. Finkelstein’s lab, she is the only one who has the foresight to question Jack’s plan to take over Christmas. Unfortunately, the film spends little time exploring Sally’s world, and doesn't even allow her a triumphant final break from Dr. Finkelstein's power. In the end, we know that she ends up with Jack, and all the other details of her curious life are abandoned.
Love: 2 Stars
Unfortunately, there isn't much that's unique or special in the romance between Jack and Sally. She's smitten with him like everyone else, but she also seems to understand that there’s more to him than meets the eye. This could’ve been a truly amazing love story if more time was devoted to developing their connection. Jack could’ve come to visit Sally at Dr. Finkelstein’s lab. He could’ve shared his impressions on Christmas with her and learned that he wasn’t alone in feeling empty and tired. He might have even helped her escape from Dr. Finkelstein’s lab and taken her to see the snow and the Christmas lights. But sadly, we never see their relationship develop and grow. We’re simply given a glimpse of Sally pining over Jack, and left hoping that he feels the same.