|Index||5 reviews in total|
Based on the children's novel, 'Sign Of The Beaver', this is a sensitive and intelligent period piece, for the most part underplayed - a style which lends the movie a ring of authenticity. The cast is excellent, but the movie belongs to the young Canadian Brendan Fletcher as Matt Hallowell, surviving alone in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. There are several particularly moving scenes, carried by Fletcher's appealing screen presence. Surely he is a big star of the future. There is also a heart-rending performance from Annette O'Toole as the much-enduring mother with a catch in her throat that could melt the stoniest heart. I don't wish to give the impression this is mawkish or sentimental in any way, it isn't, but what keeps me going back to it as well as Brendan Fletcher's performance, is the soundtrack, which is haunting and evocative and, alas, not available commercially!
An admirable attempt to make a meaningful film about people struggling
with real, life-or-death problems, and based on "The Sign Of The
Beaver," a well-regarded children's novel. The scene in which the
mother (Annette O'Toole) realizes that her child, whom she is cradling
in her arms, has just died, is heart-wrenching, because you know that
as rare as it has become in modern-day First World countries, it has
happened millions of times in human history and probably still happens
quite often in some places today.
However, the film suffers from being sanitized for modern TV audiences. Nobody was that clean in colonial times. And with few exceptions, the actors fail to convince that they are playing real people instead of performing for the camera in a Meaningful Period Piece. Also, I recall several glaring anachronisms that ought to have been picked up by any competent script editor and distract from the attempt at realism, as when Matthew says, "I tell you, I'm OKAY." (Emphasis added) According to the Oxford English Dictionary, that famous Americanism was not recorded in print until 1840.
After having used this book for many years as a fourth grade teacher, I finally saw the movie. My students loved that it took place right here in Maine before it was a state. I found the movie really disappointing! The book is wonderful, but so much in the movie is changed. Matthew's survival in Maine inspired many students, and made them eager to read other 'survival books'. This movie's treatment of Matthew's development seems superficial. Attean never talks about his disdain for Robinson Crusoe's treatment of the man Friday, and that was very important. I probably would have enjoyed the movie more had I not read the book! If it makes anyone who watches it interested in reading the book, then I guess it was worth it.
This was a fine family movie. The characters were full and compelling, the story was believable, and the film was uplifting and positive. The soundtrack was also excellent. While some have offered critical reviews citing authenticity issues (clothing not sufficiently soiled to be realistic, non-period word use, etc), I found these elements to be superficial in nature. Movies are forever offering "sanitized" views (i.e., actors hair is never mussed, facial bruising from fights is gone the next day--or never appears at all!), etc. I would hate to see people miss out on a thoroughly enjoyable movie for such extraneous concerns. I very much recommend this film for viewers of all ages.
I first saw this movie when I was in sixth grade reading class, because
we were reading the book, The Sign of the Beaver. When I heard that we
were going to be watching this movie, I became interested, but when I
watched it, I was like: "What?" There were so many differences with it,
I could hardly tell it was the book.
This production was a bad idea, I don't even agree with it being a made-for-television movie, it should have gone direct-to-video, because it is rather dull and tedious. This movie is boring, it is so boring, that it makes a very exciting story about the Battle of Gettysberg seem as boring as the ingredients on the back of a shampoo bottle.
Go ahead and watch this movie if you like, but you might be bored when you do. If I had not read the book first, I probably would have liked this movie better. But I did read the book before I saw this movie, and so I didn't like it. But watch it if you want to, you never know, you actually might like it.
5/10 or 2/4
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