A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Anything is possible. Be a lighthouse, not a candle, because candles can blow out in the wind. Just use your imagination and you can't go wrong. Life is full of possibility.
Positive Role Models
Lilly is helpful, kind, and empathetic. The kids she fosters are welcoming and warm. All the neighbors are helpful and generous.
Violence & Scariness
A boy is sad because his grandmother died.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Lilly's Light: The Movie is a 2010 made-for-TV children's movie conceived of and cowritten by, and also starring, Sherry Hursey (of Home Improvement). It's aimed at kids in the Sesame Street and Barney & Friends age range. A sad child loses his grandmother and faces life on his own. Lilly collects foster kids whose parents aren't in the picture, but the focus is on positive thinking and songs and dancing. The movie offers preschoolers a generally upbeat and cheerful point of view. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As she kindly reaches out to kids in need, Lilly couldn't be more well-meaning, but it can sometimes feel as if she uses her unfailing optimism to force depressed kids into sunny submission. When the orphaned Daniel says he can't open himself up to new friends, she just sings to him over and over to open his heart and, presto, without any processing or apparent reason, he drops all resistance and joins the rest of Lilly's upbeat brood. Lilly's Light: The Movie suggests that with a little time, anyone, no matter how traumatized and no matter the nature of the trauma, can recover from anything. While this is an optimistic viewpoint, it also feels dismissive of kids who have undergone catastrophes, the implication being that if they don't join the others in good cheer, there's something either wrong with them or they're just plain stubborn. Even the wildly popular Barney, TV's optimistic purple dinosaur, acknowledged at times that anger and sadness weren't necessarily controllable, allowing kids to have their feelings without being burdened by the pressure to abandon them.
That said, preschoolers may enjoy the constant smiles and singing and dancing. Anyone older, however, may tire of the chaotic narrative, camera work, and editing that leaves us confused by seemingly unnecessary chronology jumps and jumpy story lines.
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.