A lot or a little?
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse is British family TV movie that has a feel good tone, despite it addressing topics such as death, grief, professional struggles, and aging. It is inspired by the real-life meeting between acclaimed children's book authors Roald Dahl (Harry Tayler) and Beatrix Potter (Dawn French), when the former was a young boy. A six-year-old Dahl must deal with the sudden death of his father, while Potter finds herself struggling to reconcile being a successful children's author with the pressure that she is put under by her publisher to tone down her work in the hope it will make them even more money. A small amount of swearing features with both minor cursing and angry exclamations, such as "bloody" and "massive twit." There are also a couple of instances where characters lash out to defend themselves. There is some diversity among the cast, both between men and women, and also different ethnicities. Consumerism features occasionally but is never celebrated. Instead, money-hungry publishers are shown to be tone-deaf as to what makes a good children's story.
What's the story?
ROALD & BEATRIX: THE TAIL OF THE CURIOUS MOUSE tells the stories of two of the U.K.'s most beloved children's authors, Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter. Following their individual struggles, the six-year-old Dahl (Harry Tayler) meets the aging Potter (Dawn French) in a meeting that has an impact on both of their lives.
Is it any good?
An all-star cast ensures that this British TV movie has no shortage of talent on screen, which carries its well-intentioned but slightly lightweight script. Inspired by a real-life meeting between Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter, it's mainly a chance for everyone involved to have some fun with plenty of allusions to the authors' most iconic works.
Having Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse conjure up something as memorable as the world-famous stories of its two subjects is asking the impossible, but it builds to a satisfying final act where the pair are united. It also manages to balance some light-hearted moments with serious topics, along with a dash of the dark humor for which both authors are loved, and which livens up Dahl's encounters with some monstrous adults and Potter's dealings with clueless publishers. With its Christmas setting, this is solid family entertainment, stuffed with rich production values and season good cheer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss the relationship between Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter in Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse. What do you think their meeting gives them both? How does this help them?
How does Roald Dahl deal with the death of his father? Do you think he responded to feeling sad and angry in the right way?
How does Beatrix Potter cope with getting older? Did it surprise you that she had stopped enjoying her work? How does she change over the course of the movie?
How much do you know about the works of Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter? Did you spot any references to their works within the movie?
The movie is a fictionalized account of a real-life event. Why is it important that we recognize that? What other examples can you think of where the story is based on something that actually happened?
- On DVD or streaming: December 24, 2020
- Cast: Harry Tayler, Dawn French, Jessica Hynes
- Director: David Kerr
- Studio: Hartswood Films
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Book Characters
- Character strengths: Curiosity, Integrity, Perseverance
- Run time: 78 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 1, 2021
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