Parents' Guide to

A Kid for Two Farthings

By Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Sweet family-friendly drama has smoking, wrestling scenes.

Movie NR 1956 96 minutes
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From director Carol Reed -- famous for classics like The Third Man and Oliver! -- this 1955 British drama is a surprisingly sweet, if slightly underwhelming tale of childhood innocence. In A Kid for Two Farthings lead role, Ashmore is warm, thoughtful, and spirited, though his posh English accent is out of place in London's East End markets. Adapted from a book originally set within the Jewish community, its one of a few major castings -- including Celia Johnson as Joe's mother, and Diana Dors and Joe Robinson as young sweethearts -- that step away from the original material and leave Kossoff's wonderfully wise, kind tailor verging on mystical stereotype.

The fantastical element stretches beyond Joe's hopeful imagination, the bustling market streets brought alive with bright colors (this was Reed's first color film) and night scenes imbued with a romantic glow and a magical, almost musical-style energy that is a far cry from the dingy, shadowy realism lurking beneath. Animals packed tightly in cages and the way the "unicorn" is yanked around and manhandled doesn't sit particularly well today. But for those who can look beyond its issues and the slightly slow, episodic pacing, this is a heartwarming and hopeful movie that will inspire as much magic as audiences will allow.

Movie Details

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