A boy persuades his parents to allow him to adopt a young deer, but what will happen if the deer misbehaves?A boy persuades his parents to allow him to adopt a young deer, but what will happen if the deer misbehaves?A boy persuades his parents to allow him to adopt a young deer, but what will happen if the deer misbehaves?
Claude Jarman Jr. stars as Jody Baxter, a young boy living in post-Civil War America who longs for the companionship and love of a pet - someone to take care of and nurture. While Jody's loving father, Ezra(Gregory Peck)makes great strides to give Jody companionship and someone to look up to, Jody suffers from the neglect of his hardened mother, Orry(Wyman), still reeling from the untimely deaths of her other children. Jody befriends a fawn and takes it in as his own. The two bond and love each other. But what happens when the young deer begins to eat the crops that the family live off of? Only tragedy can ensue.
"The Yearling" is a delicately handled film that encapsulates the best of 1800's living. And while this is deemed a "family film", there are some surprisingly difficult scenes and sub-plots that might be scary to some children. I know I was uncomfortable watching the animal fight scenes and the death of one of Jody's close friends. And even though this has got to be one of the most predictable movies, the performances we get from Wyman, Peck and, especially Jarman, are stellar. In the movie's final emotional scenes, no one has been so convincing as Jarman in conveying heartache and mind-numbing trauma. And Wyman, while on the sidelines, is incredible as a woman afraid to open up and terrified to lose her one remaining child. On top of that, the cinematography is first-rate, with some stunning sunset shots and silhouettes set against the backdrop of rural America. And despite some off-kilter bits at the end revolving around Jody getting lost on the river and being found by a ship, "The Yearling" is a solid and heart-warming film that has earned its place among the top Hollywood classics.
- Aug 15, 2005