What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie is rated PG for brief mild language and scenes of peril. At one point the adopted Stuart thinks his new parents don't want him. Adoptive and foster families may want to think carefully about whether the themes will be upsetting or reassuring to their children.
What's the story?
Mr. and Mrs. Little (Hugh Laurie and Geena Davis) drop son George (Jonathan Lipnicki) off at school on their way to the orphanage to adopt a child. They fall in love with Stuart (voice of Michael J. Fox), who is charming, insightful, unselfish -- and a mouse. Despite warnings against "inter-species" adoption, they bring him home. George is disappointed and doesn't see how Stuart will ever be able to play with him. And maybe he is a little more jealous than he was expecting. The Little's cat, Snowbell (hilariously voiced by Nathan Lane), is furious and plots to get rid of Stuart. Stuart manages to surmount enormous obstacles. He even wins over George, after proving his courage and loyalty in a boat race. But he still wonders about his birth parents. Stuart faces the biggest decision of his life when two mice show up claiming to be his birth parents.
Is it any good?
E.B. White's story of a family whose son happens to be a mouse is lovingly Hollywood-ized. In other words, it bears very little relationship to the book but has a lot of great special effects. Fans of the book will do well to stay at home and re-read it, but families looking for some good action scenes, appealing characters, and a wise-cracking cat will enjoy it very much.
This is a terrific family movie. Stuart, created entirely through computer graphics, is perfectly integrated into the live action. And I do mean action -- the boat race and chase sequences are pretty exciting. The script by M. Night Shyamalan does not talk down to kids and has some genuine insights about sibling rivalry, the fear of failure, and family.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about what makes people feel that they "fit in," about jealousy, and the way it makes us think that hurting others will help us feel better (but it doesn't), and the importance of Mr. Little's advice about trying -- and George's success in reminding him about it at the right moment.