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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some insight into country and city life in Europe in the late 1800s.
Shows the importance of kindness and compassion: If you treat people with kindness and warmth, and if you show them compassion and understanding, they'll treat you the same way. Shows the value of family, friendship, and community. Shows the healing power and health benefits of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise.
Positive Role Models
Heidi is a great role model for compassion and gratitude. She's kind to everyone and looks for ways to help other people and animals, too. She's happy with very little, and thankful to others who do nice things for her. Heidi's grandfather is gruff and grouchy, wanting to hide from people rather than confront what he assumes is their dislike and suspicion of him. Eventually he learns to be more emotionally open and shows his love and affection for Heidi, as well as learning that people are nicer than he thinks. The only negative role model is the housekeeper Miss Rottenmeier, who doesn't think Heidi is genuine and is mean and overly strict when she's supposed to be caring for Heidi. The cast is all White.
Violence & Scariness
Some scariness when a character's in danger of falling from a cliff, but there's a safe resolution. Several mentions that Heidi's grandfather killed someone. Peter raises his herding staff to hit a goat but doesn't. A character mentions he'll drown some kittens if he can't find them homes.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Heidi's grandfather smokes a pipe and one scene shows him buying tobacco. Mr. Sessemann smokes cheroots.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Heidi (2005) is the story of an orphaned girl who goes to live on a remote mountain with her grandfather, based on the beloved children's classic book from 1880 of the same name. There have also been numerous other film adaptations. There's very little content of concern. Youngest viewers may be frightened by a scene when a character nearly falls from a cliff, but there's a safe resolution. Heidi's parents' death, as well as her grandfather's worry about his own death, are briefly mentioned. There are several mentions that her grandfather killed a man in the past, as well as mentions of his past drinking and gambling. A character mentions drowning unwanted kittens, and another character almost hits a goat with a large stick. Two adult characters smoke and one buys tobacco. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a gentle and heartwarming adaptation of a classic story that has charmed readers and movie watchers for generations. Heidi (2005) will work its way into viewers' hearts just as she herself finds a way into most everyone's heart whom she meets. The true highlight of this version is the strong performances by most of the cast, especially headliners Max von Sydow as the grandfather and Diana Rigg as Clara's grandmother. Emma Bolger as Heidi is engaging and her performance is fine for someone so young, but at times there's no real spark and she seems like she's acting instead of actually being the character. There's some spectacular scenery, although not nearly enough of it, and some of it looks like stock footage or backdrops.
But the story is so endearing, and it holds up really well, so a few minor flaws are excusable. It's a nice choice for a family movie night; just have some tissues handy toward the end, and be prepared to help the littlest ones with some brief, mild scariness and sadness from parental loss and separation from loved ones.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.