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The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom
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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

One of those films that touches the still place within us all

10/10
Author: judithwatts from Canada
19 March 2011

The Year Dolly Parton was My Mom opened in Toronto at the Cumberland Theatre last night (March 18). Canadian film maker, Tara Johns, responded to feedback from a grateful, mesmerized audience in a rare Q&A session following the feature. Her script, production details and cast are flawless. Depicting the natural stages of rebirth in the lives of women, she invites male viewers to transition in this sacred world too. In contributing her familiar, soulful lyrics and music to the film's score and her voiced 'tell it like it is' truth, icon Dolly Parton must have intuitively realized she was backing a winner! Get your ruffles ready for the 2012 Oscars, Tara Johns!

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Lovely little film worth seeing!

Author: Robyn Wiener from Canada
11 April 2011

I had the pleasure of being invited to see this film at it's opening night last Friday, April 8 in Vancouver. As a Canadian filmmaker, I'm always happy to support Canadian films but am even happier when the ones I'm supporting are good! This little gem of a film does not disappoint! Lead actress Julia Stone does a great job in the lead character Elizabeth searching for her biological roots in the hopes that songstress Dolly Parton might meet her expectations. Stone delivers the part with a great sense of maturity and considering she has to carry a good chunk of the film, I have to commend her on her performance. I also really enjoyed Gil Bellows as her Dad and Macha Grenon as the Mother. Both do well in their respective roles but this film's POV is that of Elizabeth and her journey.

I think what I liked best about this film is that there is a very nice balance in this family film that both mothers and their pre-teen daughters can sit through. There seem to be less of these films out there that can attract both and Director Tara Johns does a great job engaging both audiences. With it's fairly modest budget, this film's production design is very authentic to the 70's genre and the film's cinematography is really lovely. I felt there was an authenticity that was accurately portrayed while keeping me in the story.

One more thing to note, this soundtrack is great! With most songs being either performed or written by Dolly Parton, you're left humming many of the tunes as you leave the theatre. I was given one as a gift and haven't stopped listening to it! If you have a chance to check this out, do so...it's hard to find family films today that don't go overboard in sentimental mush and this one definitely doesn't. Congrats to Johns on this project and I look forward to seeing more of actress Stone as she grows and matures. I have a feeling she has a long career ahead of her.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Canadian Gem

10/10
Author: klott-24-200628 from Canada
10 April 2011

This delightful new film is a tribute to Canadian talent! What a wonderful cast and we certainly hope to see more from writer/director Tara Johns - a Canadian gem! Set in the prairies one is delivered to the open scape of the imagination of a young girl who wishes her mother was fabulous Dolly Parton. As daughter and mother set out on routes of self-discovery, we are swept away with the emotions and beauty of a film that is both intimate and authentic. The set design and costumes are so detailed that those of us who lived in the seventies feel immediately at home. Vancouverite Julia Stone does an amazing job and Macha Grenon is breathtaking. It is an outstanding treatment of a tale of lost identity, and a must see film for all!

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

likable lead in whimsical indie

6/10
Author: SnoopyStyle
18 August 2013

This is Canadian indie filmed in Winnipeg. The story takes place in 1976. Julia Stone is cute new actress. She plays Elizabeth who thinks she's adopted and her mother is Dolly Parton. With only her imagination, Elizabeth runs away in search of her true identity, followed by her adoptive mother Marion.

On the plus side, the lead actress Julia Stone is very likable. The title is whimsical. There're some quirky characters.

On the other hand, the story can get slow. There are too many silent moments intended to add atmosphere. It isn't as dramatic as it could have been.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A sweet coming of age story.

8/10
Author: vandad from Canada
13 April 2011

I recently saw this fantastic Canadian production, and I was so happy to bring my 13 year old son. Although it's a coming of age story through the experiences of a young girl, it resonates so eloquently with all of us, boys & girls, men & women, about what it means to answer the question: "who am I"?

The subtle power of the young lead Julia Stone helps the viewer believe in her quest: innocent and determined.

And my hat is off to director Tara Johns in creating the mood and literally the colour of the period in every way.

I'd see it again:)

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Positive message to kids

9/10
Author: mfran-25-874800 from Canada
11 April 2011

I took both of my kids this past weekend and was very impressed. While it was a bit over their heads at times (they are 7 & 4 yrs old) it still captured their attention and I believe they left with a very positive message about the trials of coming of age. Well, maybe my four year old did not get quite that much, but she loved the Dolly Parton songs & costumes ;)

As a parent it was a great reminder that sometimes you just have to let your kids be kids, let them find their way - not always an easy thing to do. Hats off to cast and crew - another feather in the cap for Canadian film.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"A lot of unnecessary parts, but very moving altogether."

3/10
Author: madisonlavenderfloyd from United States
7 February 2016

A touching movie with a lot of drama and emotions. A lot of unnecessary parts, but very moving altogether. The editor really deserved to win an award for the editing done in this movie. The furniture and clothing of the actors definitely reflect the sixties. Which is surprising, because not many movies do such a good job of doing so. You can really feel the pain and emotions of this movie not just by the actions and lines of the actors, but also by the lighting and certain scenes shown in the movie. The movie altogether has a good message about knowing that it doesn't matter where you've come from, but that you will always have a family. It was even more inspirational when Dolly Parton herself responded to the little girls letter, giving her a little ray of hope.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Low quality

2/10
Author: Laura Mizvaria Martin from USA
9 April 2016

Misleading title and casting list....only had a voice over cameo from Dolly. Even if that wasn't bothersome, the movie was confusing and poorly written, shot, and acted. Just kind of a mess with a jumble of plot lines that don't connect. The color grading was over the top and there was too much shaky cam.. It gets points for creativity I guess, but the film strongly seems to be "trying too. hard." It was a waste of my evening to watch it, wish I could get that time back. I mean, the only reason I watched it was because it said it had Dolly Parton in it, but I never even got to see her, other than in stock footage! This movie didn't seem to know what it wanted to be about.....coming of age? Social justice? Identity? Adopted child rights? Bad parenting? Bullying? Overall the movie needed to cut out the Dolly Parton stuff, and have a script overhaul.

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful Movie about the complicated relationships between moms and daughters

10/10
Author: findjax from Canada
11 April 2011

Last weekend I took my children to see this movie in Vancouver. My daughters are 12 and 9 so the story really spoke to them both. Without giving anything away, it's safe to say that the movie tells the very complex story of the relationship between a mother and her daughter. It's a great commentary on real-life mother/daughter relationships. We love our kids so much that sometimes it's just really hard to admit that they have minds of their own. The 3 of us agreed that it was a wonderful film. It didn't hurt that our friend played the main character either :) Julia Stone was amazing in her role as Elizabeth. I'd recommend this film to anyone. The entire audience was engaged throughout and even the boys enjoyed the movie. Great job Tara!

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