A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
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What's the story?
This is a story of a girl with a dream, but it's also the story of two mothers with dreams for their daughters, both based on dreams of their own that didn't come true. Casey's mother (Joan Cusack) wants her daughter to become a brilliant scholar. She also wants Casey (Michelle Trachtenberg ), an aspiring scientist/skater, to dress in sensible (dowdy and middle-aged) clothes. She doesn't like the "twinkie little outfits" that figure skaters wear and admits that "no matter how old the rest of us get, we will still always hate the prom queen." Coach Tina (Kim Cattrall) was once a figure skating champion who made a mistake that cost her a chance at an Olympic gold medal. She wants her daughter Gen (Hayden Panettiere) to get the gold medal she could not have. And when Gen tells her that she wants more than skating in her life, she doesn't listen. Both mothers have to learn that their daughters are entitled to their own dreams. The daughters have to learn that, too.
Is it any good?
When you first hear the premise of this movie, you may think there won't be any surprises -- but there are, and they're all nice ones. The first surprise is the characters, who rise above the usual bland, interchangeable stick figures for movies of this kind. Michelle Trachtenberg brings a nice shy spirit to Casey, the, and she has able support from the always-engaging Joan Cusack as her mother and the nicely flinty Kim Cattrall as the coach. But the nicest surprise is that after a spate of "mean girl" movies, this one gives us a character who competes with Casey who is honest, loyal, and supportive.
The story had an assist from The Princess Diaries author Meg Cabot, which may be why it feels like it should be called "Ice Princess Diaries." But the formula is nicely played out, with sincerity and sweetness enough to inspire the young viewers to come up with some dreams of their own.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the most important advice that Casey gets from Gen. Why does Casey decide to trust Tina? How does Casey decide what is most important to her? What does she learn from her mother and what does she learn from Tina? They could also discuss the mothering styles of Joan and Tina. How are they alike, how are they different, and what do they have in common with your family?
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