A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Brothers of the Wind is the stirring story of an orphaned eaglet and an almost-orphaned boy who bond in a remote area high in the Alps. The personal story is set in a magnificent region filled with an abundance of wildlife, and the filmmakers spend much of the time recording the marvels they encounter. The brutality that accompanies natural selection ("survival of the fittest") is revealed. Expect predators seeking and overwhelming their prey -- small critters are in constant danger. Clashes take place between the same species in the battle for dominance. And all the living things must face the challenges of the rugged terrain: avalanches, rock slides, storms. In addition, some flashbacks hint at a tragic death by fire. Although these sequences are shot carefully, never emphasizing the ferocity and never gory, some could be disturbing for young or very sensitive kids, so caution is advised.
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What's the story?
In BROTHERS OF THE WIND, two eaglets are born in a nest high in the Alps -- a region that is almost untouched by humans. Only one of the two birds is destined to stay in the nest, and, a short time later, the younger of the two is pushed out by his stronger brother. The very fragile eaglet falls a great distance and is left to die, unable to survive on his own. Miraculously, Lukas (Manual Camacho) finds him. The boy lives with his father (Tobias Moretti) in a remote wood cabin; their only neighbor is Ganzer (Jean Reno), a forester. Following the death of his mother, Lukas is sullen, silent, and isolated. A vast chasm, born of tragedy and anger, separates the boy from his dad. Finding the bird will change Lukas' life. It's a relationship of biblical proportions, as Ganzer relates the story of Cain and Abel to explain the eaglet's plight. With only Ganzer to guide him, along with his own innate wisdom and courage, Lukas attempts to heal the bird, whom he names Abel, and to teach him to survive.
Is it any good?
With a soaring musical score and astonishing footage of a rugged land and its creatures, this story, set high in the mountains, takes its audience on an adventure of majestic proportions. Brothers of the Wind is a seamless union of the real and whatever computer-generated images were needed to augment that reality. There are countless moments in which the viewer will watch in awe and wonder how the filmmakers got that shot. The movie is framed by a conventional father-son estrangement story. We know how that will resolve, and it does. But to get there, directors Gerardo Olivares and Otmar Penker create an unforgettable team -- Lukas, the boy, and Abel, the eagle -- as they learn to survive and flourish in the remote beauty of the Alps. Jean Reno's participation as the narrator-guide is just right. In his understated performance, platitudes become insights. Highly recommended for both its visual beauty, its respect for the natural order of life in the wild, and its inspiring coming-of-age story.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Brothers of the Wind. How does the violence in this movie -- all based on natural phenomena -- differ from usual human-instigated movie violence? Does it affect you in a different way? Is it more acceptable? Why or why not?
What is a "film score"? Think about the music in this film. How did it enrich your experience? Of the eagle's journey? Of Lukas' journey? Many musical scores, like this one, can be listened to and enjoyed on their own. Which film scores stand out in your mind?
In what way is this film a "coming-of-age" story for both main characters? What lessons did Lukas and Abel share? How did each affect the other's life journey?
What character strengths and life skills were emphasized in the film?
- On DVD or streaming: June 19, 2018
- Cast: Jean Reno, Manual Camacho, Tobias Moretti
- Directors: Gerardo Olivares, Otmar Penker
- Studio: Epic Pictures Releasing
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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