A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Summer's Shadow is a family film from Steve Franke, writer and director of the Adventures of Bailey series. The film features many of the same actors from other Franke films, including Bailey as the dog Shadow. Though the content is pretty clean (with only some moderately sad scenes), a lot of time is spent discussing themes that probably will be boring to most kids, including failing relationships, hiring a developer, and caring for an elderly relative.
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What's the story?
Summer (Belle Shouse) and her dad (Todd Terry) have moved to yet another new neighborhood as he helps hire a developer to finish building it. Along with her new friend Lanny (Aidan Langford), Summer sets up a lemonade stand to earn money to go to boarding school in London while Summer's dad fights against the influence of the scheming Mrs. Tupperworth (Juli Erickson). When Summer adopts a stray dog they name Shadow, she discovers she needs all the help she can get from adult neighbors Cole (Mark Hanson) and Jessica (Liz Franke) to save Shadow and help her dad save the neighborhood.
Is it any good?
Although it has a lot of similarities to the Adventures of Bailey series, SUMMER'S SHADOW is missing some of the fun and lightheartedness that made those films enjoyable. Most of the characters are dealing with intense issues such as divorce, loneliness, bullying, or illness, and a few scenes romping with Shadow aren't enough to lift the gloom. Also, much of the film focuses on adult issues that are honestly quite boring, such as hiring an honest developer to finish building the neighborhood. The scenes that deal with why Jessica is single and why Summer's parents' relationship fell apart also feel a bit out of place in a kids' movie.
Parents no doubt will appreciate how great of a role model Summer is, especially when she stands up for Lanny against the popular girls. But kids will wish for more fun dog scenes and less adult talk.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about hiding things from parents. Do you think it was OK for Summer to hide Shadow from her dad? Or should she have asked him right away if she could keep Shadow?
Besides being mean and grumpy, why was Mrs. Tupperworth the villain of the movie? What did she do that wasn't right?
Do you like this film as much as the Adventures of Bailey series? Which stories are your favorites?
How can you be a responsible pet owner?
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