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Franz Peter Wirth
Two taboos in children movie - bullying and death: watch it
This is a very unusual movie regarding the theme it deals with and age it is made for.
This is a children movie, but a family movie as well. Considering its theme, maybe it would be the best for grown-ups in the family to watch it first if their children are young, to be prepared for some explanations.
The reason: though there are many equally important moments in the movie including common as school relations, first love, relations child - pet animal etc., there are two almost taboo themes for children movies strongly emphasized here. The first is bullying, but this one seems less interesting and quite understandable. The other is a death of a family member. There are many children movies where somebody dies. Many orphans were main characters (Annie, Oliver Twist etc), but watching those movies kids only get information that somebody has died before. It is sad, but it doesn't open any questions. Unfortunately, it happens that some children have to cope with death in real life, and it is hard for adults, harder even more because they have to cope with that loss themselves too. And this movie is something to help them (so they can help their kids; it certainly won't be a great comfort for adults). The death - the fact of dying, of mortality itself, consequences the death brings to the living - is uniquely presented without pathetic, horrific or disturbing scenes. Death is natural and transcendent in the same time, and believe or not, it is made understandable for any age old enough to sit 90 minutes and watch a movie. I don't say it's not for other children, on the contrary, death can happen at any time, and having this film seen before can be helpful later ("Do you remember that movie you've seen before about a boy, his cat and his grandfather?"...). But if a tragedy happens, I can't remember a better way to diminish pain to a little older kids, and curiosity in smaller ones (when they start asking questions that hurt as much as the fact what has happened).
Just some notes more: I can't get it why people send comments about movies they possibly couldn't understand not knowing the language. All they can comment are photography or music (and even that not related to the plot). In a movie like this it is necessary to understand every word (it reminds me, if your copy is subtitled be sure you children are old enough to read!).
Second, both comments I saw here mention underage nudity. If you don't believe and don't teach your children that nudity is a bigger sin than murder (shown in countless movies and cartoons your children probably watch), don't be afraid to watch it together. The movie is made in a culture different than US (or Islamic countries) and such a nudity is absolutely natural there, you can see it on any beach in Europe. The only one who makes this skinny-dipping (only topless) look dirty is the only evil character, a priest's son, while bullying Jasper in a cruel and graphic-shown way (that nobody seems to find disturbing and comment it). So better be prepared to educate your children about cruelty that might lead to tragedy (as almost happened in that scene), and that is one more good possible use of this movie. The fact that the priest's son is so evil doesn't mean this movie is anti-religious, the priest is O.K. character. But don't expect death to be described in Christian, Moslem, Judaic or any other religion stereotyped way!
But if you're lucky enough not to have problems with bullying or death, watching this movie still won't be a wasted time. I recorded it from TV; my kids are big but I think of keeping it for my grandchildren. I hope, just for pleasure...
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