A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Eloise in Springtime's upbeat message of the importance of love is overshadowed by child and adult characters lying to get what they want. There are repercussions and apologies, but neither Eloise nor her temporary babysitter make good role models for children. Eloise's mother in Paris won't come home to care for her, even when Nanny is going on vacation.
What's the story?
Based on the popular Eloise book by Kay Thompson, ELOISE IN SPRINGTIME features the impish 6-year-old resident of the Plaza Hotel suffering from a bad case of jealousy. Nanny (voiced by Lynn Redgrave), the loving and constant mother figure in Eloise's life, is taking a vacation, and a young, hip sitter named Nicole is brought in watch Eloise (Mary Matilyn Mouser). Nicole appears to still need supervision herself, telling Eloise's tutor that the little girl is ill and coaching her charge on how to present a convincingly sick appearance before throwing a party that gets out of hand. Eloise in the meantime is delighted and then jealous as Nicole catches the eye of her friend Bill, so she does a little lying herself to separate the new lovebirds.
Is it any good?
While some may admire Eloise’s confidence and independence, most parents would cringe at the disrespectful way she treats her tutor and the next-door neighbor who comes to her rescue. Living at a fancy hotel has also given her a sense of entitlement a mile wide, ordering up endless room service and running roughshod through the lobby. Still, it is Nicole's behavior that is really troublesome, as kids get a confusing message of a fun, loving sitter who lies through her teeth. At least the lies catch up with both Nicole and Eloise, who are made to see the impact of their actions.
The relationship between Nanny and Eloise is always sweet, and viewers get a sense of the deep affection and love between the characters. Nanny is also very close with her brother, a nicely depicted adult sibling relationship. But every Eloise story begs the question -- where's Mother? This time she was in Paris and unable to get away when Nanny was going on vacation. Even with an ending that focuses on the importance of love, the most loving presence in Eloise's life is the hired help.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about their reaction to Nicole's behavior -- lying about Eloise being sick and throwing a big party in the hotel room. Would you look up to a grown-up who did those kinds of things, even if you were having fun in the process? How do you think Nanny and Eloise's mother felt when they heard about what was going on?
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