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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This isn't an "educational" story, but it will teach kids about art, particularly different styles (murals vs. portraits) and techniques like impasto. The movie will make kids think about their art and music education and appreciate it more.
"The causes most worth fighting for are the ones you don't know you can win," Saige's grandmother tells her, and the girl takes the adage to heart. Saige is inspired by her grandmother to make a difference and take action to try to save the art program at her school. Saige and her friends ultimately work together, even though they have different ideas, to raise funds. The importance of hard work, practice, dedication, optimism, and patience is stressed throughout the movie.
Positive Role Models
Saige is a shy and kind friend, daughter, and granddaughter who loves to draw and is generous with her friends. But she also bottles up her feelings and panics in public situations. She's mean when she finally "flips out," but overall she's a wonderful, layered character. Mimi is a wise and loving grandmother who inspires Saige to do the right thing. Gabi is a patient new friend who cares about Saige even though Saige misses her former best friend, Tessa.
Violence & Scariness
The grandmother trips, breaks bones, and is hospitalized for her injuries. She's wheelchair-bound for the rest of the movie. On a couple of occasions, Saige gets overwhelmed in public situations and has mini-breakdowns where she can't speak.
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Saige, usually soft-spoken, lashes out and screams at Dylan for being "totally annoying" and saying "I'm so sick of you!"
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Products & Purchases
The movie is part of the American Girl empire, which includes dolls and merchandise, as well as lots of books and DVDs.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Saige Paints the Sky is the latest live-action movie based on an American Girl doll; this time, it's the 2013 Girl of the Year Saige Copeland -- a 9-year-old artist from Albuquerque. The movie is full of positive messages like facing and overcoming your fears, leaning on friends and family for encouragement and support, and finding your voice/standing up when you want to make a difference. Saige deals with a variety of issues, from her grandmother being injured to her best friend bonding with a new girl, and her favorite class (art) getting cut from the school curriculum. Young viewers will be inspired to not sit idly by when they could be an agent for change. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Although the American Girl movies will inevitably spark viewer interest in the dolls, they're actually very well done, with good actors and high production values. Not to mention important messages that empower as well as entertain. Saige, a true girl of the Southwest with her turquoise earrings, cowboy boots, and peasant shirts, is a fascinating character. She's soft-spoken and sweet, but she has a tendency to keep things bottled up, worry about change, and second guess herself. When art is cut from her school, she loses the one class where she could truly express herself. The movie features not only a great deal of art and content about the process of painting, but also music and dancing, all by talented young girls.
Seymour is perfectly cast as the earthy grandmother artist (the actress really is an artist!), and parents in their 30s will remember Saige's patient dad (Kerr Smith) from his time on Dawson's Creek. Don't expect boys to connect to the material as much as girls, but any young fan of the arts will appreciate the movie's message. Bottom line? Saige's story is another winning movie in the American Girl collection. Its inspiring message will challenge girls to stand up for what they believe in, find their voice, and overcome their fears.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.