Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

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Parents' Guide to


By Nancy Davis Kho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Affecting update of the coming-of-age classic.

Movie NR 2003 87 minutes
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Kids say (3 ):

In the hands of director Kevin Hooks, who played the boy in the 1972 film version, Armstrong's coming-of-age tale is treated with great care. Robertson captures the growing confidence of the boy as he pursues his difficult task, and the movie also features Paul Winfield, who played the father in the first film, as the boy's teacher. Suzzanne Douglas as the mother radiates faith, hope, and a backbone of steel in each scene.

The movie does a good job capturing the day-to-day worries of blacks in the South during the 1930s, and the inhumanity of the southern prison labor system. It also underscores the life-changing value of education, particularly for the disenfranchised. The suspense and pain caused by the father's imprisonment, as well as a protracted disappearance by the dog, would likely make this too intense for viewers younger than 12.

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