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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Through talk and through example, the power of one person to bring about positive change in the world is shown.
Positive Role Models
Zach Bonner is a young boy who does everything within his power to help homeless children, and goes to tremendous lengths to spread the word about the plight of homeless children in Florida, and throughout the rest of the United States.
Violence & Scariness
While dumpster-diving with his mother, a young homeless boy falls out of a dumpster and injures his arm, resulting in blood and a traumatic wait in the ER waiting room.
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A teen girl calls someone a "d-bag," and later makes reference to having to wake up at the "asscrack of dawn."
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Products & Purchases
Reference is made to companies and brands who helped Zach and his emerging charity: Lazydays RV, Build-a-Bear, and Chef Boyardee.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A woman drinks a glass of wine after coming home after losing her job, but does not act intoxicated.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Little Red Wagon is a 2013 movie inspired by the activism of a young Florida boy named Zach Bonner, who collected supplies for those who lost their homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley, and then later dedicated his time and efforts to helping homeless children and calling attention to their plight. The biggest concern for parents is the side story in which a mother and her young son lose their home and have no choice but to sleep in their car, dumpster-dive, and shoplift from a grocery store; while intended to provide a concrete example of the tragedy of homelessness, some of the scenes -- including one in which the young boy injures his arm while dumpster-diving -- could be too intense for younger viewers. Also, some of the shouted arguments between the mother and teen daughter could be difficult for some. Finally, during one scene in which Zach and his mother are in the middle of their walk to Tallahassee from Tampa to raise awareness about child homelessness, Zach vomits on the side of the road. Otherwise, this film is an inspirational story of what one person can do to try and make the world a better place, and should lead to thoughtful discussions about activism in our society. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
LITTLE RED WAGON is a well-done movie. It was inspired by the true story of Zach Bonner, whose Little Red Wagon charity grew from modest beginnings into a nationally recognized advocate for homeless children. The film manages to show and discuss the growth of young Zach's efforts without being preachy or heavy-handed, and also shows, through a moving side-story involving a mother and her young son who lost everything and are trying to survive by sleeping in their car and homeless shelters, the vast difficulties of homelessness as well as how it really doesn't take much for those in the middle class to lose everything they have.
While the arguments between Zach's mother and his teenage sister Kelley feel like a bit much at times, they do underscore the difficulties faced by many in balancing their desires to improve the world while having a fulfilling social and personal life. Nonetheless, for a "movie with a message," this is among the best to come out in recent years, and should inspire discussion -- and perhaps action -- amongst families about the issues they care about the most.
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.