A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in the unexpected and prolonged absence of Mommy, Eloise and her beloved Nanny check out of the Plaza Hotel in NYC to take an exciting visit to Hollywood. Along the way Eloise meets a spoiled child star or two and gets a reality check about what it's really like to be a movie actress. Eloise engineers a second chance for another character, but does so in a manner that includes lying, helped by the trusted adults in her life.
Better to pick if you're curious, but teenagers will not likely be entranced by this for a long time
What's the story?
Based on the popular series by Kay Thompson, this straight-to-DVD movie finds precocious 6-year-old Eloise (voiced by Mary Matilyn Mouser) still living at the Plaza Hotel and being waited on by its adoring staff as she looks forward to seeing her mother at last. When Nanny (voiced by (Lynn Redgrave) gets a call that Mommy has been called away on business for another two weeks, we get a glimpse of the sadness that all the room service in the world can't make up for. However Eloise gets a nice consolation prize in the form of a visit to Hollywood under the protective generosity of Mommy's much-discussed, never-seen friend, producer Mr. Murcheson. Eloise's adventure in Hollywood includes chauffeur-driven limousines and suites at the Hollywood Hills Hotel, and an inside chance to audition for a bit part in one of Mr. Murcheson's movies.
Is it any good?
Some parents might consider Eloise a bit fresh and self-centered, but here she's down-to-earth and hard-working compared to aspiring child actors she meets on her trip. With Nanny's constant and stable guidance, Eloise learns what it's really like to be an actress, and she's not sure she likes what she sees. The movie does a good job of illustrating the negatives of the movie business, and is probably a good way to initiate a conversation with the star-struck girls between 4 and 9 who will enjoy this most.
One of Eloise's most endearing traits is her great imagination and energy, and the video does a nice job of bringing that to life. The scenes of how Eloise kills time during the inevitable waiting, for auditions and for scenes to be shot, are amusing. And the dialogue is true to the book, with Nanny issuing edicts in triplicate and Eloise introducing herself as "Hi I'm Eloise I Am Six" as though it's her full name.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Eloise learns about the movie-making business when she gets her big break. Do you think you'd like to move from hotel to hotel like Eloise does? What do you think about the way that Eloise, Nanny, and Monty help Debbie -- was there a more honest way they could have done that?
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