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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is a tear-jerker and contains some intense scenes involving poverty and peril. In one scene, Joe is forced to tell Lassie that he doesn't love or want her anymore (a potential weepy moment for the youngest set). Also, Lassie gets whipped, and in another scene, a brave little dog dies at a human's hands. There's also slapstick farce at the expense of some dog wardens. In school, Joe suffers humiliation and physical abuse from a teacher. A dwarf puppeteer is beat up by two big guys using clubs. They make snide remarks about his size and try to rob him.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
It's the eve of World War II, and miner Sam Carraclough (John Lynch) is out of a job. He and his wife, Sarah (Samantha Morton), must keep food on the table, so they make the painful decision to sell their beloved dog, Lassie, to the Duke of Rudling (Peter O'Toole), who will give the collie to his granddaughter, Priscilla (Hester Odgers). The Carracloughs' young son, Joe (Jonathan Mason), is heartbroken when he gets home and Lassie's gone. Lassie escapes from the duke's kennel several times, so he ships her off to his remote castle. But she's determined to return home, and, with Priscilla's help, Lassie manages to get through the gate, setting off on a cross-country adventure that has her seeing the Loch Ness monster, escaping from a dog pound, and falling in with a traveling puppeteer (Peter Dinklage).
Is it any good?
With some iffy language, rough-talking coal miners, and scenes of death and peril, it's clear that this LASSIE is no scrubbed-up Disney flick. But by showing the harshness of life in 1930s Yorkshire, the movie brings a reality to the classic story that was never found in the TV series, or even in the early Lassie movies.
Lassie is a nostalgic story about a beloved character, and the dog's adventures are by turns amusing, thrilling, and gut-wrenching. That said, the movie is also a bit schmaltzy, with one too many scenes of Lassie running in slo-mo across the Yorkshire landscape, saving various souls along the way, and being brave in the face of adversity. Then again, it's Lassie -- and you can't mess with a classic.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's messages about loyalty, honesty, perseverance, poverty, and respecting animals. What does it mean to be poor? Why are there some places in the world where kids have nothing? How would you feel about having to sell your pet to make ends meet? Why do some people abuse animals? Why is it important to respect other living creatures?
- In theaters: September 1, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: November 14, 2006
- Cast: Jonathan Mason, Peter O'Toole, Samantha Morton
- Director: Charles Sturridge
- Studio: Davis-Films
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild violent content and language.
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