A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Enjoying the time you have is a big lesson for the girls who are worried about middle school in the fall, as is sticking together come what may when school starts. Friendship helps the girls face upheaval in their families. There's an implied message, too, that there are quick and easy solutions to such big problems as homelessness, divorce, etc.
Positive Role Models
The girls are all good friends to one another. Adults try hard to be good parents, but are seen as caught up in their own struggles as well.
Violence & Scariness
Mention of dead soldiers in Iraq on the car radio while a father whose son Jerry is stationed there looks worried. The sound of an explosion to indicate that something happened to Jerry -- he later comes home in a wheelchair. Jess' mom's boyfriend throws a remote control at the wall next to Jess.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One girl asks the others, "How do people get pregnant?" They cut away and come back to her saying, "My parents did that?!"
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"Dammit" and "hell" shouted at the dinner table. Vanessa's mom says "I hate myself."
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Products & Purchases
Three of the girls have DS players and play a game together. A mention of America's Funniest Home Videos.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lizzie gets her older brother a beer at the dinner table and his parents tell him they think he's already had enough.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film about four girls the summer before middle school made the Heartland and Family Film Festival circuits before making it to DVD and as such is focused on being uplifting family fare. So while it tackles mature themes such as divorce, homelessness, and an older brother coming home from Iraq in a wheelchair, it does so rather mildly and offers some pat answers to these difficult problems. There's mild swearing in one scene where there's also beer drinking by adults. Also, one of the girls asks how people get pregnant, the camera cuts away assuming the other girls tell her, and then you see her say "My parents did that?!" To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
There are so few movies about girls this age being regular 11-year-olds it makes this one seem refreshing somehow, despite its faults. The girls are all earnest, thoughtful, and sweet and feel very real. Their struggles are real, too, with a brother home from Iraq, impending divorce, and the sad result of a foreclosed home.
Thankfully none of these issues drives the movie to melodrama -- instead it errs on the side of movie-of-the-week patness. Living out of your car? Move into our guest house while you get back on your feet. Hmmm. And while the pace is leisurely like a kid's summer before homework and sports practice, it really drags in places, making the 93-minute running time feel much longer.
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Our Editors Recommend
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