A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Golden Winter has very cute dogs but a problematic premise and some iffy behavior. A family of dogs is abandoned in a foreclosed home with the litter separated from its mother, while a gang of middle schoolers breaks into an abandoned house to find them. There's stealing and other lawbreaking, as well as some mild bullying. The film's message is an ultimately positive one about family unity, but may be upsetting for very young kids or require some discussion.
What's the story?
Oliver's (Andrew Beckham) mom Jessica (Shannon Elizabeth) and dad (Jason Brooks) are too busy with their careers to spend time with him or keep the promises they make to try. So he finds an unlikely group of friends when a gang he becomes involved with breaks into a deserted house where a family of golden retrievers has been abandoned. Here, he unexpectedly finds a purpose, if he can juggle taking care of them while staying under the radar of the middle school gang.
Is it any good?
By cover alone, GOLDEN WINTER seems like a movie for very young kids. A litter of adorable, fluffy golden retrievers palling around and galloping about make for some cute action for dog-lovers. But the premise -- abandoned pets in a deserted house, then separated from their mother, and a gang of middle schoolers happy to break the law if it means turning a buck -- puts this film into older kid territory. There's also some minor peril and mild bullying, and a lot of manipulating a good kid into doing bad things because he's lonely and his parents don't pay attention to him. (It's also worth mentioning that the CGI of the talking dogs is hilariously amateurish.)
Kids who love dogs and puppies in particular may be entertained by the lovable stars, but parents may want to do some explaining about abandoned pets (both the seriousness and how to approach them if they should come across any), and the prevalence of risky illegal behavior here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about keeping promises. Why is it so important to keep your promises? What happens when we don't keep our promises?
What should you do if you see a stray dog or cat? What happens to pets that people don't care for properly or abandon?
How should you approach a strange dog? Can you tell when a dog is upset or scared? What do they do, and how should you react?
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