jessica tholmer
December 20, 2015 6:57 am

I have always loved Bonnie Hunt, because who doesn’t? She plays the perfect character in every movie. She is the perfect mom in Cheaper By the Dozen, she is a loving wife in The Green Mile, she is an awesome sister in Jerry Maguire, and even without her face, her voice is so soothing in movies like CarsA Bug’s LifeToy Story 3 (and the upcoming 4!), and Monsters University. 

But for me, it all started in 1995 when I fell in love with her as Sarah Whittle in Jumanji (which turned 20 this past week!). I recognized her from Beethoven of course, but there was something special about Sarah Whittle’s character that had me mesmerized. Maybe it was her little side braid and spiritual nature that reminded me of my mother. Maybe it was the way she fought to get her life back after an unbelievable event occurred. Maybe it was the beauty she radiated dressed in velvet at a Christmas party, baby bump to boot. Sarah Whittle has been one of my favorite characters for almost my entire life. I wanted to be Sarah Whittle, and I still kind of want to be Sarah Whittle.

She is so positive.
Even though Sarah Whittle has been through hell and back–comparable to Alan Parrish’s life, just without the jungle–she remains a relatively positive person. Though I am not super peppy all of the time, I do find it easier to adjust my pessimism when kids are around. I’d like to think that Sarah is the same way. Little things like, “Well, a little rain never hurt anybody!” when revealing the fact that a monsoon was about to occur is a really great life motto. Rain has hurt people, lots of them, but a little positive spin on a disaster can change a life.

(Don’t worry, they all survive the monsoon.)

She won’t let you call her crazy.
Okay, maybe don’t call anybody crazy because it is an insensitive accusation. When Sarah suggests Alan sits down and discusses his differences with a man that is trying to kill him (daddy issues, anyone?), Alan calls her crazy. Sarah rightfully scolds him, telling him to never call her crazy because everyone in the town has called her crazy “ever since [I] told the cops that you were sucked into a board game.”

Yeah, sounds pretty crazy, but as we all know, Sarah Whittle was quite the opposite.

She knows what it’s like to be alone.
Though I have never experienced something quite as traumatic as watching a child get sucked into a board game (and the aftermath of that), I do know that being alone is a really terrible feeling. Poor Sarah spent her life alone because no one believed that Alan Parrish was stolen by a board game called Jumanji.

She lets someone understand her.
And though being alone is one of the hardest feelings to struggle through, it is reassuring (and important!) to know that someone out there understands you. There is always someone out there who knows what you are going through and who can help you overcome it. Sarah’s experience was very specific and she wasn’t able to truly overcome what happened until Alan came back into her life. On a more general level, just know that whatever is happening in your life, there is at least one person out there that can relate to you. Someone understands.

And if you saw a friend get sucked into a board game when you were a kid, stop living in denial and maybe contact Chris Van Allsburg to help you through it?

She loves children.
Like aforementioned, Sarah has a way with kids. If it weren’t for Judy and Peter’s involvement, there is no way that Alan could have convinced Sarah to play Jumanji with him again–she did it for the kids. Flash forward to 1995 (that’s confusing, since it’s 2015, but you know what I mean), Sarah and Alan are giddy with excitement to re-meet Judy and Peter at the company Christmas party. Sarah and Peter stop the kids’ parents from leaving on the ski trip that killed them, which basically saves everyone’s lives.

I love kids, man. They really are the future.

I also don’t know how to fit it into why I love Sarah Whittle, but I need to mention that she and Alan are adorable together and also that Bonnie Hunt and Robin Williams had amazing chemistry that I still hope to find in my real life after all of these years.

Sarah Whittle is an extremely strong, caring, independent, and loyal character. I have always strived to be even a sliver of Sarah Whittle in my life.

(Images via TriStar Pictures)

You May Like