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What's the story?
Amy (Ann Carter) is a dreamy kindergartener, not very clear about what is real and what is fantasy, and "a very sensitive and delicately adjusted child," according to her teacher. Her father Oliver (Kent Smith), still in great pain from his first wife's tragic death, is very protective, and worries about her "losing herself in a dream world." Amy befriends Julia Farren (Julia Dean), an old lady in the care of her daughter, Barbara (Elizabeth Russell). Jealous of the attentions Julia gives to Amy, Barbara threatens to harm Amy. The ghost of Amy's mother appears as her guardian angel, saving Amy and bringing her closer to her father.
Is it any good?
Despite the title, CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE is a gentle story of a lonely and sensitive girl and her "friend," who may be imaginary or may be the ghost of her father's first wife. This movie is not for everyone, but children who can identify with Amy will like it, and may be able to talk about themselves in talking about her. Oliver worries that Amy's dreams will lead to madness, as he believes they did for Irena. Amy just wants someone who will be her friend, and has a hard time connecting to other children.
The counterpoint is Mrs. Farren, whose delusion that her child is dead is deeply upsetting to her daughter, in her own way as needy for friendship as Amy is. This movie does a good job of showing how Amy and her parents worry about each other, and that parents make mistakes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Amy blames herself when her parents argue about her; you may want to make it clear that children are not responsible for family conflicts. Children may be concerned about Mrs. Farren's delusions, and how upsetting they are for her daughter. They should know that most old people are fine, but that some have an illness that makes them forgetful.
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