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 is part of the Swedish Pippi Longstocking TV series from the '70s re-released in the States with bad dubbing most recently in 2005. Also in the series, Pippi in the South Seas and Pippi Goes on Board. This is the one where Annika and Tommy decide to run away from home and take Pippi with them. On the one hand their adventures will remind kids that it's nice to have a roof over their heads, but on the other, they might get some wild ideas that jumping onto moving trains, going over waterfalls in a barrel, and sleeping in abandoned buildings with strangers sound like big fun. There's also a car Pippi drives with no brakes, then eventually flies, and some tightrope walking and a bullfight. Of course the uberconfident Pippi gets through it all with her cunning, mysterious magical powers, and super strength. There's also a scene with kids swimming in their underwear and another where kids swear into Pippi's ear and she shouts the worst she hears: "shut your damn cotton pickin' mouth."
What's the story?
When Annika (Maria Persson) and Tommy (Par Sundberg) decide that it would be better to run away from home than weed the strawberry patch and wash behind their ears, their mother asks Pippi (Inger Nilsson) if she will go with them and keep them safe on their adventures. It's all singing, laughing fun in the summer sun until a thunderstorm drives their horse away and they're forced to hide out in an abandoned building. But there's always a big bright side when Pippi's around. They meet a traveling super glue salesman there and immediately test his product on their shoes to dance on the ceiling. Then Pippi takes on some rapids in a big barrel, they jump on a moving train, spend the night in a hay loft, make a car fly, and much more. But by this time they're out of food and the kids are ready for their own beds -- and home still seems so far away.
Is it any good?
With the bad dubbing and some weirdness (like kids in potato sacks dancing, pretending to be Turkish for some reason) this is a '70s movie meant for real fans of Pippi Longstocking. If you are, you're in for a kitschy treat with a car that flies when Pippi flaps her arms; dancing on the ceiling with superglued shoes; and travel in hay wagons, atop trains, and by barrel over waterfalls. It's great fun for kids to reenact adventures in their own backyards after movie night. If you're planning a Pippi movie night, though, watch Pippi in the South Seas first. Pippi's pirate adventures will hold more excitement for kids. It's hard to beat pirates, really.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Pippi and other strong girl characters. Who are your favorites? What characteristics do they share? Do they all have magic powers like Pippi?
Kids can ask parents if they'd be allowed to run off with Pippi for a week in the country. Parents, would you trust her like Annika and Tommy's mom did? Do you think they were lucky to run into nice strangers like Konrad or even the stern police officer? What would worry parents about kids on their own for that long?
There's a lot here to provoke some great imaginative play with flying cars, wheel-less bikes, sleepovers in pretend haylofts, and more. What will you take away from the kids' adventures for your own playtime?
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