A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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What's the story?
Budding artist Saige (Sidney Fullmer) lives in Albuquerque, near her beloved grandmother, Mimi (Jane Seymour), a famous painter and ranch owner. When 9-year-old Saige starts the fourth grade, she's disappointed by the fact that her best friend, Tessa (Alex Peters), has bonded with new girl Dylan (Mika Abdalla) at their summer music camp. And when the teacher announces that, because of budget cuts, the school will only be able to offer music or art every other year, Saige is upset and inspired by her grandmother to try to make a difference. With the help of Tessa, Dylan, and a new friend named Gabi (Alana Gordillo), Saige orchestrates a Day of Beige to show how boring the world would be without art. They then plan for an even bigger fundraiser at the annual hot-air balloon fiesta, but after Mimi is injured in an accident and Tessa and Dylan's closeness continues to threaten Saige, it's unclear whether any of Saige's goals will be accomplished.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Saige Paints the Sky's message about art education. Why do you think it's important for kids to get instruction in the arts? What can you do if the arts aren't offered in your school district?
How does Saige "face her fears" as her grandmother and father encourage her to do?
Does Saige Paints the Sky seem like a marketing tool to sell the American Girl doll, or would it be good even without a connection to the brand? Kids: Does the fact that it's an American Girl-based movie make you more or less likely to watch the movie?
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