This started out as a FB post but quickly mushroomed, and the thoughts here are, IMO, important for storytellers, so I'm saving them here.
Today's bugaboo which has resulted in a mini blog post. I'm *so* tired of dudes explaining how Labyrinth, with a then-39yo David Bowie and -14yo Jennifer Connelly is basically child p**n in the same vein as Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. Just stop already. I've heard this refrain so many times over the years.
Labyrinth is NOT Lolita.
And Connelly's memories of him are good. After his passing, she had this to say: "I think it's very sad, his passing, for so many reasons. To me, not only was he a genius, he was a genius who had the time to be kind. [That] was my experience of him.”
Here's my hot take: Jareth the Goblin King acts as an animus to Sarah's sexual awakening. And while there was implied sexual tension between the two characters, it was never followed through.
I always view what happens once Sarah steps over the threshold from our reality into Jareth's labyrinth to be some sort of dream-sequence. She enters a liminal space in which she comes to terms with the fact that she's no longer a child and must soon put away the things of her youth. This is a story about the dawn of sexual awakening.
Yes, Jareth's age makes one uncomfortable, but I believe it's *meant* to. In the beginning of the story, she externalises her power.
This line from Jareth is telling: Everything that you wanted I have done. You asked that the child be taken. I took him. You cowered before me, I was frightening. I have reordered time. I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for *you*! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn't that generous?
And until she learns her own true will, she is powerless, lost in a labyrinth of her own making, IMO, until she stands up to that mystery presented by Jareth.
She wins back everything by saying this: Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great... You have no power over me.
In terms of magical workings, this is pretty awesome stuff, and a film that had a massive impact on me when I watched it as a preteen. It's an initiatory fairy tale that still speaks deeply to me years later, it still has all its resonance, despite the dating of the SFX and soundtrack.