A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ociee's mother has died. There's a scene where an arsonist sets a house on fire, though its inhabitants survive. There's a slight religious context as Ociee's mother is said to be in heaven, folks attend church on Sunday, and Ociee prays to God to look over her family; these facts fit seamlessly into the context of 19th-century Southern culture.
What's the story?
It's Mississippi in 1898, and a girl named Ociee Nash (Skyler Day) has lost her mother to measles. Her father (Keith Carradine) clumsily tells her that he has plans to send her to Asheville, North Carolina to live with his sister, Aunt Mamie. In the days of trains and horse-drawn buggies, Asheville is a long way away. Much to her chagrin, Ociee is put on a train, where she meets interesting -- and important -- people from all across the country. Once she arrives in Asheville, her Aunt Mamie (Mare Winningham) has a devil of a time taking the country out of this tomboy. But even as Ociee slowly gains some grace and courtesy, she still maintains her courage, which is called upon in a very challenging situation.
Is it any good?
This is a highly recommended family choice for parents of girls who possess a little moxie! Based on the book A Flower Blooms on Charolotte Street by Milam McGraw Propst, this movie succeeds in giving a glimpse of Southern life over 100 years ago when girls were meant to wear dresses, serve a proper tea, sew clothing, and keep a house. But the heroine of this movie does not fit into the mold: she wears "dungarees" and climbs trees. She's a unique individual who touches everyone around her with her fresh observations.
Though the acting is a little stiff as the movie begins, the characters settle into a believable and enjoyable rhythm. The clip-clop of horse's hooves and the tea taken on the porch are a refreshing change from the high-tech backdrop of many contemporary kids' movies.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Ociee is sent to her aunt's home. Why is it deemed necessary that she learn to be a proper young lady? How would this be handled today?
Ociee is nine years old. How does her life differ from 9-year olds in the 21st century? Take a peek at what kids her age are up to now.
Aunt Mamie does not believe Ociee when she tells her about the people she has met on the train ride. Is there an instance when you have told the truth but nobody believed you?
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