What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids will enjoy this movie, with its adorable, raspberry-blowing, television-loving seal (portrayed by a sea lion), but there's more violence than you would expect for an animal film. Parents will enjoy the soundtrack, filled with '60s oldies.
What's the story?
A shy little girl from Maine makes friends with a seal in this fact-based story about a seal that swam from Boston to Maine every summer for 24 years. Toni (Tina Majorino) is more comfortable with animals than with kids. Her father, Harry (Keith Carradine), is not very responsible, but he has a real gift for animals, and his wife manages to cope with the chaos and be "the only grown-up in the house." Andre the seal is a delightful playmate, a sensational participant in \"show and tell\" at school, and a courageous life-saver, warning Harry away from a sunken mine when he is scuba-diving and rescuing Toni in a storm. The local fishermen blame the seals for their unusually low catches. One of them, a bitter man who hates Harry and his family, calls the Fish and Wildlife Administration. They send an inspector who insists that Andre must go. Finally, Andre goes to a Boston aquarium. But, set free every summer, he comes back to be with his family.
Is it any good?
Due to its episodic structure, ANDRE THE SEAL feels a bit messy, but this fits with the chaotic life of the Whitney family. The mother is impossibly understanding, the motivations are much too simplistic, and the problems are all resolved a bit too neatly at the end. Andre gets to be in an aquarium and be with the family. And, it turns out that Billy's bitterness is because he envies Harry's family and his job, and that he believes (correctly) that he would be a better harbormaster. So, he gets that job (and, one presumes, then becomes a nice guy), and Harry gets to work for the government on marine protection. Still, kids will most likely enjoy this one because of the magic of a girl befriending a seal, and Andre's irrepressible charm.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how Andre made Toni's life different. Why was Paula so angry with her father? Why did Toni think her father was "magic" with animals? What does it mean to say, "sometimes if you really love someone, you have to let them go"?