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Parents' Guide to

Heidi (1993)

By Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Family entertainment at its best, expect emotional moments.

Movie G 1993 165 minutes
Heidi (1993) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 6+

Now you’ve seen the film, read the book

I have loved this book from a child, and also it’s sequel as she grows up. Loved the story, although not as correct as the book. The night sequences are part of the story. However disappointed in the “action of Klara” to stop falling off the cliff. In actual fact Klara spends time with Heidi and Grandfather and Peter get frustrated with her. it’s during this time that he throws the chair down the mountain. It’s only when Klara’s father comes to see her after some time, see how she has blossomed and she walks to him from a seat outside the hut. So yes do read the book. Performances of all the actors are really good. Putting in a quick statement of I’ll bring you back some white rolls before the end of part one, explains what will happen, when in reality she doesn’t discover soft rolls until she has been there. So lesson over. Really, really enjoyed it. Got it saved on recorder, so will watch again. Loved Patricia Neal acting as Grandmother, but I imagined her to have rotten teeth or none at all which was why she couldn’t eat hard black bread. Johanna Spyri you have given a lot of people some great imagination in your books, and so has Disney for making me cry.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 9+

A Beautiful Adaptation With a Few Minor Issues

Heidi is an eight-year-old orphan growing up in early 1900s Switzerland. Her Aunt Dete sees her as an inconvenience and always has. Despite this, Heidi has grown up to be a bright, compassionate, optimistic little girl with a lot of spunk. So when she's sent to live in an isolated mountain cabin with a grandfather the townspeople fear, she doesn't quake much. Instead, she endeavors to build a relationship with Grandfather and teach him to be a more open and compassionate person. In many ways, she succeeds, which gives way to an example of the good relationships that can grow between senior citizens and children. Heidi is actually a positive influence on all around her. Midway through the film, Dete reappears, taking her to Frankfurt. There, Heidi is expected to befriend a sheltered girl named Klara who uses a wheelchair because of a childhood brain fever. Klara is spoiled and coddled, and she sometimes uses her disability to her advantage. Yet Heidi sees the good in her and encourages her to be strong and try new things. Families can talk about the dynamics of this friendship and how kids can be good friends to Klaras they may know. There are some minor caveats. As noted, Klara can be manipulative, and the adults in her life allow it even at Heidi's expense. Grandfather is unnecessarily stern at times, and he can be rude and gruff with people who try to help him. One such disagreement resulted in the violent death of Heidi's parents (via a storm, not actual bloodshed). Some unsettling scenes involve Heidi becoming so homesick that it translates into physical illness and sleepwalking. Governess Fraulein Rottenmier is unsympathetic and snobbish. Finally, Klara's disability is resolved because she miraculously learns to walk again. While this is an expected ending for the time period, it does paint Klara as a one-dimensional and somewhat pathetic disabled character. This warrants discussion. Otherwise, this film is truly a classic good for movie nights.

This title has:

Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (4 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Made by Disney for cable, this Golden Globe nominee is a touching adaptation boasting lots of beautiful scenery and some fine performances. This is family entertainment at its best, but the very young may find a few scenes emotionally intense.

Jane Seymour overdoes it a bit as Fräulein Rottenmeier, the uptight governess, but young Noley Thornton more than makes up for it. She was a great choice for the role of Heidi -- sweet without being sticky. Young children may find the beginning daunting, when Heidi is left in the care of her gruff, nasty grandfather (Jason Robards, in another good performance). There are other emotional moments as well. One, in which Heidi's beloved grandmother slips away, does a good job of addressing death as a natural and inevitable occurrence, something not to be feared.

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