In the summer of 1947, a mysterious thirteen-year-old girl, accompanied by her mute mother, seemingly appears from nowhere. When two thirteen-year-old boys fall deeply in love with her, they find themselves on a collision course with one another that could not only destroy their friendship, but take the tiny town of Medda, Alabama with them. Written by
I remember being so disappointed that this film never made it into my local theater after seeing the trailer for it played there more than once. Obviously, the theater management did not think such a sweet film, an innocent film, could capture much of an audience. They were wrong. It captured me wholeheartedly. Not only is the movie cinematically beautiful, with a small town backdrop much like that in My Dog Skip, but the characters seem to have been dropped right out of the 1940's. Yes, some might call it schmaltzy, sugary, even overdone in some respects. Lily Jane's overdone accent I found particularly annoying. But Hollywood has done its best to give us the dark side, the horrific side, the characters filled with malice and malevolence. I find this film so refreshing and well acted as well. Using mostly unknowns makes the film feel even more comfortable. The characters are on an even playing field and each contributes more than his share. Children on Their Birthdays tells a simple story of growing up, mending fences, finding our way in a world which can be a very cynical place. But the children here give us hope that if their innocence can translate into tenderheartedness as adults, maybe we have a shot at a better tomorrow after all.
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