Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) Poster

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10/10
Great movie, was oriented for a slightly older viewer than expected.
weather4fun21 February 2005
With it's G rating, I figured this for mostly upbeat and easy for youngsters such as my 3rd grade daughter. However, the movie is much deeper than that, and while it has many feel good moments, it is more about tough times and imperfect lives than anything, but shines wonderfully.

My 3rd grade daughter loved it, but my 7th grade daughter, who we thought might be too old for it, loved it even more!

I would definitely recommend "Because of Winn-Dixie" to families looking for a movie to watch together and who want thought provoking questions for their children to ponder and ask about. Well done, not too sappy, plenty of realism to go along with the fantasy.

The dog wasn't cartoony at all, the smile was understated and natural. This movie is more about relationships and hope despite tough times than anything else.
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9/10
Worthwhile movie
cadbo21 February 2005
First, I want to dispel any rumors about this being a "sappy" movie. This movie is an adaptation of a well-known children's book, and should be judged as such. For those of us that want more from our entertainment than shoveling base garbage, it provides a nice change. This movie is in the same type of movie as an "Anne of Green Gables" or other juvenile movie. It has no nudity, profanity, nor did we see anybody sleeping with anybody. A nice change.

What a wonderful movie. The story is very similar to Pollyanna (at least in the girls ability to involve herself in the community). It has a very positive message, and there is not one thing that I would feel bad taking any of my children to see. As a matter of fact, they will all see it by the week's end. I haven't read the book, but my 13 year-old daughter has and told me how good it is. I will have to read it now. It was an engaging tale, and technically was very well done. The acting was good (some very talented actors were involved) and there was some very good film work. The moving clouds with the scene changes were a nice touch and the music was very appropriate. I know there has been a lot of talk in the media about Dave Matthews in this film, and he was a nice addition. His acting was OK, but his music was definitely a welcome addition. His guitar playing in various spots was warm and fit like your favorite chair.

There were a number of good messages throughout the movie. Some were very overt (the discussion between Gloria and Opal about judging someone on an event without knowing the whole story), and some were a little more below the surface (time moving on, bringing new challenges, and keep living). In case you don't get them, they usually give you a clue in the dialogue somewhere. It sure gave me lots of topics I could use to teach with my children. The most important theme is the primary theme for the movie. The truly important thing in life is the relationships we have with others. Opal demonstrated by becoming part of the lives of those Winn Dixie led her to.

This is one movie that will go on my video shelf (when it's not in the DVD player).
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10/10
Great movie for the whole family
Moriatus23 February 2005
No matter what others say, I think that Winn-Dixie is a great movie that every member of the family can watch and enjoy. It is funny without being too silly and dramatic without being too sappy, and has some very good morals. There are no sex/violence elements to worry about; they are practically nonexistent, and the movie was kept very true to the book. The actors are very excellent in their roles, especially newcomer Annasophia Robb. This is a deep movie,too, with a great handling of its thematic elements and a great amount of substance. This is not an average made-for-TV type movie, but an actual memorable film. My advice is, if you're looking for a great family film, to see Because of Winn-Dixie.
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8/10
Review of "Winn-Dixie"
royal_theatre13 February 2005
Based on the Newbery Award-winning children's book by Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie, brings some much-needed sincerity to this Spring's forthcoming line-up of family films. Winn-Dixie, which comes to theatres February 18, stars newcomer AnnaSophia Robb as 10-year-old India Opal Buloni, who finds herself struggling to make friends in her new home, the small town of Naomi, Florida. Jeff Daniels plays Opal's father, known throughout the story simply as Preacher. Opal and Preacher's relationship is strained due to the fact that Opal's mother abandoned them both seven years earlier. Their relationship is changed, however, when Opal is sent to the local Winn-Dixie store for some groceries and brings home a goofy, bumbling mutt with a knack for making friends and a unique ability to smile. She names the dog after the store in which she found him, and soon they are constant companions. With Winn-Dixie's help, Opal gets to know the eclectic community of Naomi and her exploits bring together some of Naomi's most unusual citizens. Though the premise may seem conventional, the movie possesses many qualities that are lacking in most family films. Director Wayne Wang, whose previous films include The Joy Luck Club and Anywhere But Here, avoids much of the whimsical elements that turn off older viewers, portraying some of the more far-fetched scenes through imaginative flashbacks that occur only in Opal's mind. Though Because of Winn-Dixie succumbs to many family film clichés including slapstick physical comedy and plenty of sappy moments, it is redeemed by moments of pure quirkiness and originality. The film is also unafraid of dealing with adult themes such as alcohol abuse.

The film's cast is supported by veteran talents like Cicely Tyson and Eva Marie Saint and counterbalanced by the fresh faces of the younger cast members. Songwriter Dave Matthews makes an impressive effort in his second film appearance as Otis, an introverted pet store clerk who plays guitar to soothe the animals. Though AnnaSophia Robb's inexperience sometimes shows itself in comparison to her co-stars, she imparts a sense of genuine naïvete and childlike curiosity to the role that would have been difficult to achieve with a more experienced child actress. Robb can next be seen playing Violet Beauregard in Tim Burton's upcoming adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Because of Winn-Dixie is a tale rich in values with themes of forgiveness, tolerance, and hope for the future. It is a classic story, told with imaginative eccentricity and style. Rather than taking the kids to see yet another Winnie the Pooh movie, do yourself a favor and take a chance on something original.

The Verdict: 3 ½ Stars
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10/10
Heartwarming Fun
fred3199819 February 2005
This movie was wonderful. The movie is about a young girl who finds a dog when she visits Winn Dixie to do grocery shopping for her father, who is the pastor in the small town in which she lives. This movie deals with love, forgiveness, and the importance of friendship. Together, Opal and Winn Dixie befriend many lonely residents of the small Florida town, and find that their lives are enriched, in addition to improving the lives of the lonely people in this town. This movie involves examples of forgiveness, and concern for others. This movie kind of reminds me of the movie My Dog Skip, starring Frankie Muniz. This is because both movies involve an animal helping a child become friends with many people in a small town.
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7/10
A dog story that will make you smile
Opal (AnnaSophia Robb), is a 10-year-old girl who has just moved to a small town in Florida with her preacher father (Jeff Daniels). The move has caused Opal to lose all her friends, and now she must start all over again. Life has been a little tough for Opal, since her mother abandoned them when she was three. Opal's father asks her to pick up a few items for dinner at the Winn-Dixie supermarket. While in the store, a big dog is running loose in the store with clerks chasing after him. The store manager wants to call the dog pound, but Opal says that the dog is hers, and his name is Winn-Dixie. Opal take the dog home, and must convince her father to keep the dog. He agrees to keep the dog temporarily, until a new owner can be found. They go around town putting up posters of the dog, and later in the day Opal goes around and takes the posters down, because she secretly wants to keep the dog. Opal discovers that Winn-Dixie is able to make friends with everyone he meets, and now Opal has some new friends, because of Winn-Dixie. This is a good heartfelt story of the bond between a little girl and her dog. The story shows that a dog can bring happiness to a lonely girl and open up hearts of the people in town. I don't know how they did it, but the dog can actually smile. You can take your children to see this touching story. (20th Century Fox, Run time 1:46, Rated PG) (7/10)
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8/10
Great family movie
Becky87119 February 2005
This movie starts a little slow, I only went to see it because Dave Matthews is in it...it starts slow yes, but it has it's moments, good moments, funny moments. I think there are a lot of lessons in this movie and that makes it a great movie to go see with the kids...only one or two cuss words, not bad ones either!! I think if nothing else, the kids will enjoy the dog in this movie. I enjoyed seeing the dog because his actions reminded me of my own puppy. I can't wait to see other Annasohpia Robb movies.. she's a good little actress and adorable, very adorable...Dave was good too (I also liked him in "Where the Red FernGrows"). I've always enjoyed Jeff Daniels in movies and he didn't let me down in this one either.
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8/10
very heartfelt with surprising substance
Mark Nielsen (gopakrz)18 February 2005
This movie was a pleasant surprise in it's overall acting and charm, with a wonderfully directed cast. Winn-Dixie was a fun movie and the dog was really not the star of this one. While the dog had charm, it was little India Opal who stole the show. With Dave Matthews and Cicely Tyson playing wonderful roles, the characters in this film steal your heart. Opal charms the old folks of this town who seem to have lost their joy. Once the candy factory was shut down the citizens hearts left with it. It is Opal who brings the citizens back together and opens up a closed community by throwing a party for the people in the town.
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10/10
A Three Year Old's First Movie
jimgrigsby19 February 2005
Today, I took my three year old to see her first movie. This, you must understand is a task, as you must always be careful about language and "mature" situations that so many people today see as normal.

I am not going to give a synopsis of the movie, as most of the other reviewers do. Go see the movie yourself. I will only say that both my daughter and myself were totally engrossed with this touching and well-played story. The characters were very enjoyable and I thought the actors did a fine job.

I noticed that everyone in the audience, children along with their parents had big smiles on their faces as we all got up to leave at the movie's end. I really enjoyed this movie, and so did my young daughter.
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7/10
A girl and her dog
jotix10011 April 2006
Opal, the daughter of a preacher, is a girl with a mind of her own. When she meets Winn-Dixie, she has found a pal. Her father is a man that is in pain. He is trying to reconcile himself to his present circumstances. Arriving at the small southern town, he must do good work in order to attract a faithful congregation. He doesn't have much to fear, just leave it Opal to get everyone together in a place where people have grown apart.

The great book by Kate DiCamillo, is an excellent book for young adults. Joan Singleton adapted it for the screen and Wayne Wang directed a nice cast that produced a movie that, while some would think it's too sugary for their taste, it captured perfectly the essence of a small southern town.

The sweet AnnaSophia Robb plays the leading role. This young actress is a natural, or so it seems. Jeff Daniels, one of our best actors is seen as the preacher who can't forget his wife and who has to come to terms with himself. Cicely Tyson and Eva Maria Saint are perfect as two of the town's oldest citizens that are won over by Opal's goodness. Elle Fanning is seen as Sweetie Pie, a lovely girl. B. J. Hopper and Dave Mathews also contributed to the film.

This film was clearly targeted for young audiences. It has the right ingredients that prove to be a magical combination for family movies, a girl and a cute dog, a sure formula for appealing to audiences. Wayne Wang, an unlikely choice for director, brings all these elements together for a film that will not disappoint.
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3/10
Like drinking ten pounds of old syrup. And then throwing up.
IsisChromecat22 April 2005
I re-read the book shortly before I saw the movie. It is quite a good book, and I recommend It to everyone, even if you disliked the movie.

I went to see it with high hopes because earlier that day I had read that the author liked it. It started out just fine, with Opal playing catch (with herself) with a nice song in the background by the Be Good Tonyas, then she goes to Winn-Dixie. A dog is running around and jumps on the Manger, who cries. Opal says that the dog is called Winn-Dixie, and rescues it from the pound. They leave and the Manager says "That dog almost licked mah face off!" This marks the end of the whimsical and original feel of the film, and it screeches into Stereotypical Kiddie Lane.

Opal gets a job at the pet store run by Otis, played by Dave Matthews who did very well, and meets Sweetie-Pie Thomas. She also has to deal with the landlord, who keeps threatening to send Dixie to the pound, befriends Miss Franny, Gloria Dump, and that pinch-nosed Amanda Wilkinson, has many sweet and fedjucational(fun educational) adventures that quite reminding me of "The Littlest Elf" from the Lemony Snicket books.

But there is one good thing about this movie: the music. It is simple and pretty and goes along perfectly with the book.

Save the sap, guys. 3 out of 10.
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2/10
Why oh why?
elven-piratess1 March 2005
Why did they make this movie? There's really no point in it. Maybe it would have been a good movie if the character was about five years old. AnnaSophia Robb, the lead "actress", is eleven, but you'd guess she's going on six. She's such a big hit in kid's movies these days, but her talent is definitely limited. The film does have its good moments...certain parts are just funny enough to bring a small smile to your face, but not really something I'd consider humor. Even as a children's movie, judging by the reactions of my young cousins who also saw this, this flick isn't a hit. And considering the certain topics and moments discussed/seen in this movie, it's not really that great for kids anyway. Yes, the dog is cute and the storyline is cute--why the children's book was good--but this movie is definitely one I don't recommend.
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8/10
Some Tips for Adult Viewers
aimless-4622 September 2005
It should be no secret by now that "Because of Winn-Dixie" is a children's film, its target audience of pre-teens are meant to be entranced by the title character and the many cute animals even if they have not read the book from which the film was adapted. This big budget ($20 Million) film made a lot of money by carefully targeting this audience with a fairy tale story where there are no really "bad" people.

Being a children's film is not a fault or at least should not be a fault. But teenagers and adults should understand going in that "Because of Winn-Dixie" is not on the "family film" level of "Monkey Trouble" or "My Dog Skip". There is less here for older viewers unless they are willing to let themselves view the film from a child's eyes.

That said there are some elements for more sophisticated viewers if they just look hard enough.

Director Wayne Wang engages in a fair amount of self-parody. Although 10 year old Opal (the main human character) is played realistically, Dakota Fanning's little sister Elle's character is (intentionally) one of the most sugary in film history, appropriately named Sweetie Pie Thomas. John McConnell and Harland Williams play the crybaby grocery store manager and the goofy sheriff with a kind of homage to Barney Fife and Roscoe P. Coltraine.

Jeff Daniels gives an excellent performance as Opal's somewhat distanced father. Daniels plays the character with a nice balance. The father-daughter scenes are very believable and by far the best part of the film. There were many ways that these scenes could have gone wrong but Daniels manages to dodge the traps and give us a conflicted character with whom to connect.

Dave Matthews, Cecily Tyson, and Eva Marie Saint are interesting in supporting roles.

Finally there is AnnaSophia Robb (Opal), who like Scout in "To Kill a Mockingbird" provides voice-over narration to help flesh out the storyline. Unlike Sweetie Pie, Robb underplays her character nicely, and is "pleasingly cute" as a Tomboy with great big eyes and a young Jodie Foster/Lindsey Lohen style. This was her first feature but she quickly followed it up with a role in the new "Willy Wonka" movie, the two roles are polar opposites so it appears that Robb has a decent about of versatility. She should have quite a future as an actress.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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3/10
Embarrassing comedy scenes
tbarton59725 February 2005
You would never know this was directed by an important director, Wayne Wang. The comedy scenes were embarrassing to watch. I know the budget was low but that's no excuse for this amateurish work. Jeff Daniels used to be a big star--now this. He was so terrific in Dumb and Dumber, and 101 Dalmatians. Maybe he can redeem himself with The Whale and the Squid. Laura Linney is in that film and she rarely appears in anything that's not first rate. Why didn't they give the lead girl some acting lessons before they plopped her in front of the camera? Wang did her no favors with this film. Dave Matthews, in only his second feature role, was one of the few shining stars in this movie. Poor Harland Williams' career must really be in the toilet.
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1/10
Wow, that dog sucked.
freakfire-12 October 2008
This film was utterly painful to watch. The dog, despite causing early problems for people, somehow brings everybody together. Yes that is the backbone of lots of animal-themed movies, but usually those have good and funny moments.

However this one failed to bring any real conflict. Nothing funny or stupid happened like in Beethoven or Ace Ventura. It didn't even have a cuteness that the "Frazier" dog, Eddie, brought with him.

And what the heck has happened to Jeff Daniels? First he is driving a van with dog ears, now he is beaten by an actual dog, despite his attempts to rid himself of the pest. Jeff Daniels sure has slid into obscurity.

Overall, not worth watching. Not even for the blind woman and the Rev. Jeff Daniels. And to be named for a failing food franchise? Wow, not good."F"
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2/10
Oh goth no....
Morticon10 June 2006
I went with some friends to see this (mostly because there was nothing else to see), and they all seemed to like it. I'm afraid I've missed something. I just thought it was ridiculous, I almost wanted to think of it as one of those unbearable stereotypical animal movies like The Amazing Panda Adventure or Mom, Can I Keep Her? Fortunately, it wasn't AS bad (if anything could go as far).

The storyline is probably the most pointless. Who could write a book about this and be fueled to continue? If someone wrote a book about how a lonely turtle befriends a coco puff and they embark on a quest to roam the turtle's tank, I'd probably be reminded of this. Foremost, I think there are PLENTY of dog lover stories clogging the drain that is Hollywood, don't you think? Sorry, Winn-Dixie fans. That's how it goes. If you haven't seen this, don't bother. Life is too short. Watch something worth your while.
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1/10
One of the Stupidest Movies I've had the Misfortune to see
lstreifel3 June 2006
Wow. Where do I start? There are so many things that are stupid about this movie. First of all let me say that if you're tired and looking for a boring movie that will put you to sleep, this should do the trick. I almost fell asleep and some other people i've talked to have also almost fell asleep (and let me tell you, that takes and extremely boring movie to do that to me). It was a really terrible movie that was probably made for 2-yearolds (if they already don't think it's stupid). Well, I guess it wasn't really the director's fault because the book stunk too. Don't waste your time on this movie. I absolutely hated it. P.S. The dog was very annoying and ugly. By the end i was wishing he'd get lost and they wouldn't find it.
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8/10
Let me explain the wide divergence of opinion about this movie-
Evan Miller19 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I almost didn't go to this movie because of the number of poor reviews about it. But, because my 8-year-old loves dogs, we went. I'm so glad I did. It was very good. But I understand why some people don't like it.

The theme of this movie is "Sweet and Sad", which is revealed by the reaction to the candy that the little girl receives and gives away to others.

Like all good movies, the story takes place on multiple levels for multiple audiences - but not all audiences. To illustrate, my 8-year-old loved it, my 15-year old was mildly amused, but my wife and I were surprised by how good it was. It was written for children under 13, and their parents or grandparents over 35. It was warm, funny, sad, sometimes deep in its treatment of human sin and suffering, and surprisingly spiritual.

Hollywood movie critics won't understand it and won't like it. The movie doesn't try to impress them. It will do better on the home DVD release than it will in the theaters.

Those who won't like this movie are people ... - expecting violence, special effects, or juvenile humor - with a short attention span - between 13 and 34 who've never suffered, or don't want to face their suffering - who've never left an urban environment - with extreme/rigid left-wing (or perhaps right-wing) political agendas

That cuts out half the population. The rest of you will probably enjoy it.

The story takes place in a small southern town that has seen better days. A large hairy lonely dog finds a little girl with no friends and a deeply flawed preacher father. The dog helps her find friends in the strangest places. Her friends, as well as her father, are sad and lonely people with pasts they try to forget. Together, the girl and the dog help their friends to find one another, and find the love and peace that comes from sharing their sadness and joy.

Kids will love the movie because of the animal antics (especially the pet shop), and from seeing the world through a child's eyes. Kids and adults who've experienced loss and sadness may perhaps some answers in the simple wisdom of this movie.

It's unapologetic of its use of spiritual themes, without judgement, condescension, or propaganda. It refreshingly shows how God through relationships heals the scarred and lonely - without talking about God.

At the same time, it succeeds in being a movie that my 8-year-old boy likes. At the end he said, "We've gotta get the DVD!"
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10/10
Easily one of the best movies of 2005!
daleapam24 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is one of 2005's best movies. I love this movie, and any kid that likes dogs will love this movie. I guarantee it! AnnaSophia Robb does an excellent of acting in this movie. I think that this skyrocketed her career. This movie is full of humor, and the ending is both sweet and sad, like a Littmus Lozenge. Opal and her dad the preacher,(played by Jeff Daniels), come even closer than before. This movie shows that by talking about our problems with others can help us to deal with those problems better. It also shows that friends can be found in the most unlikely places, like in a grocery store. And that we need to share our sorrow AND our joy with others. This movie gives very good examples of all these.
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10/10
I wept I cried I was moved
twpetty19618 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The movie dealt with so many issues that we face today. Abandonment, ridicule, prejudice, stupidity and sorrow. The language is VERY mild. An "I'll be damned" and a "War is Hell." In context, very acceptable. The humor is good and the relationships of the young lady to those around her and how they progress is very good. There is a lot to talk about if your child is willing and you take the time. The story revolves around a lonely little girl. It details her quest to find friends and fit in as the new girl. She is also the new pastors daughter. Her mother, spoken of but not seen, is absent. This provides a central theme to the movie. How we deal with loss , as an adult and as a child. The acting is top notch. I think it is one of the best movies I have ever seen and I have seen thousands.
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1/10
Not even entertaining
Zen4168 June 2006
I took my nephew to see this one and had no real expectations of anything deep or masterful, because, hey...it's a kid's flick. Well, I was still disappointed. This was boring and idiotic and a complete waste of Jeff Daniel's considerable talent. Kid's movies are supposed to be fun, light and breezy, but this thing just lacked plot and promise. The whole "smiling dog" thing wore out it's welcome after being shown 5 million times. Even my nephew (who's eight years old) got bored with this and asked to leave before it ended. No problem complying there. If it's kid-friendly flicks you're after, stick with good ones like Ice Age or Toys or even Milo and Otis, if it's the animal thing you are after. Avoid this.
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2/10
Really Disappointed by this flick
RedViper99219 July 2015
I stumbled across this film when I was looking for a good family film to watch. I read some of the reviews on here and figured, "hey, people are saying that this movie is legit. I should watch it". Big mistake on my part, I should have read the more critical reviews because I think that they hit the nail on the head. I started watching the movie and found that it moved super slowly and didn't develop the story much. And, it definitely didn't help that the acting was sub-par. I understand that the main actress is a young girl (I gave this film two stars which is more generous than I really thought was justified) but there was no real breakout performance by anyone. I liked Dave Matthews' performance but that was really it. To sum it all up, I really do not recommend this movie to anyone. Save yourself the boredom and find something to watch on you-tube instead of this flick.
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6/10
I would probably love this if I were 10
The best thing I can say for Winn-Dixie is it is the best movie I have seen on an airplane in years, but that's more a critique of airline movies than praise for this one. It's a pretty standard kid's movie in which a lonely girl adopts a dog that results in adventures, misadventures and all sorts of friends. As I watched it, I saw lots of things that I would have thought were cool if I was a little kid, but as an adult who has seen this sort of thing many times before I really couldn't get that excited about any of it. If I hadn't been trapped on an airplane I certainly would have stopped watching, but since I stopped watching the last three movies I saw on airplanes because they were so painfully awful I have to give this one credit for keeping me mildly entertained for a while.
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5/10
Sweet Little Movie
iohefy-224 February 2005
This is a cute little movie with a dog that stole the picture from the rest of the cast. The little girl Opal was as cute as a button and it was good to see Eve Marie Saint and Cecelie Tyson once more although both of them are deserving of bigger and better parts. Time has not been kind to either of them as the have gotten very old. This is the story of a preacher whose wife left him and his young daughter and the trial and tribulations they face in a small town in Florida. The story was a cute one, but I would say this film is for the very young people in the audience. This one can wait for the DVD so the kids can watch it over and over, as it is a kids movie.
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1/10
Is Becky871 Annasophia Robb's mother or what?
Tedric_28 July 2005
I think that only Anasophia's mother could say that she is a very adorable little actress... she's nothing of the kind, neither adorable nor an actress. The Alic sucks. Couple of things I can agree, the film does start up slow. The problem is that it doesn't 'pick up'. It's boring. Also I do like the dog - it's not that it's being well coaxed or anything - he's just a nice dog. Now, I know that if I were doing a proper comment on the movie this would have ten lines (do you know how hard it is to write ten full lines? I'm even spelling out the numbers.) but I really just wanted to criticize it a bit. So ignore everything after 'now' as it it only garbage to fill the ten lines quota.
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