Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Ramona and Beezus

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:All Ages
MPAA Rating:G
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:Teens and adult couples kiss briefly
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Family tension, comic peril, sad death of beloved pet
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:July 23, 2010
DVD Release Date:November 2, 2010

Walden has just about mastered the art of turning the very best in children’s literature into very fine family films. It doesn’t get any better than Beverly Cleary’s marvelous series of books about Ramona Quimby and her family, and here director Elizabeth Allen (who showed a gift for stories about young girls with “Aquamarine”) brings them to life in a way that both fans and those new to the characters will enjoy.

Joey King is just right as Ramona, age 9 years and 3 months, a girl with a big imagination and an even bigger heart, both of which get her into trouble when she tries to help out without thinking things through. As in the books, the Quimby family is instantly relatable and utterly irresistible, funny, touching, and completely endearing.

It helps to have first-class talent among the adult performers. John Corbett (“Sex and the City” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) and Bridget Moynahan capture the believably lived-in feeling of experienced parents who are almost always there when needed and are always ready to be captivated by their kids. The always appealing Josh Duhamel as the uncle of the kid next door and Ginnifer Goodwin as Ramona’s beloved Aunt Bea make their love story work while keeping the focus on Ramona and her view of the world.

Ramona’s perspective is expertly handled, and some of the best moments give us the world through her imaginative point of view, whether turning a hole in her house during construction into a portal into adventure or believing that an embarrassing moment on the jungle gym is a humiliation heard around the world. The harshest criticism of Walden’s faithful adaptations of children’s literature classics is to say that they are a little too faithful. They err on the side of literalism rather than taking greater liberties to get the benefit of the full range of cinematic storytelling. That saps some dramatic tension from the movie, making it feel a little too episodic and discursive. But if it re-creates the feeling of the book that way and especially if it inspires young viewers to read it for the incomparable pleasure of Beverly Cleary’s writing, then that is fine with me.



  • letin

    My family and I loved the movie. It’s a great family movie. My 10 and 7 years old girls could relate to some of the big sister/little sister’s conflict. They found it amuzing.
    The family structure was played out beautifully. Nowadays, family life is not viewed in a positive way in the movies.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    I loved it, too, letin! Thanks for letting me know and all best to you and your girls.

  • Steve

    I believe you’ve nailed it perfectly Nell! My twelve year old daughter and I saw it this past weekend. I tried to get a feel for the jest of the movie prior to going as I wanted to end of the summer with a positive, uplifting, yet hip deep in reality.
    The family portrayed is spot on with their plethora of individuality yet cohesive and loving nature. The relationship aspect is really the winner here…between
    Father-Daughter
    Sister-Sister
    Sibling Rivalry
    Mother of the Band-aid Clan
    Having a big sister share with her little sister the edges of the truth about arguing parents in the next room or being over heard through a heating vent…marvelous. I guess I see this all having its best effect for the various aspects of family members watching it.
    The Dad, while losing a job, and finding himself juggling monkees of job hunting, child watching, and maintaining a positive, if not “we can take this hill” attitude is not allowed to swim in warm milk by the director for too long. He has his “the pressure is getting to me moments” in the way that he shares a certain discourse with Ramona.
    I especially loved the day dreaming sequences Ramona found herself in. I am sure many kids will be able to relate.
    At the end of the movie…I had noticed my daughter laughing, crying, a few uh oh’s and a couple of “That’s so you dad”. Of course, the tears that welled up in my eyes had to be rapidly put out for sake of being called a mush mellon.
    The actors were all superb…and I am sure I’m not the only thinking that Ginnifer Goodwin bears a striking resemblance to Katie Holmes…
    Parents should treat there kids to this very special offering. If you are looking to create memories with your child/family…this movie would be a key ingredient.
    Steve~

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks so much, Steve! I am delighted to hear about your experience in sharing this lovely film with your daughter. Here’s to mush melons! (I cried, too. I am a sucker for daddy-daughter movies.)

  • donnabelle70

    Thank you, Nell. I have been wanting to see this, yet my boys turn up their noses. I will now see this because your review gave me a lot more insight into the movie. I’ll let you know what I think!

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