The Boy, the Dog and the Clown

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
The Boy, the Dog and the Clown Movie Poster Image
Whimsical friendship tale; some sadness and danger.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 90 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Strongly promotes believing in oneself and in magic. Putting mind and heart into what you do can bring happiness. Science (personified by psychotherapist uncle) cannot explain everything. Positive thinking can help, "magic takes it a step further."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Young boy is compassionate, honest, earnest, resourceful, willing to believe in magic, and respectful of living things. His mom is loving, reliable, compassionate, trusting (to some, perhaps too trusting), and always supportive. No ethnic diversity.

Violence & Scariness

Several suspenseful scenes. A boy gets lost, is menaced by a snake, a bear, then falls, injuring himself. Clown appears to have life-threatening medical condition -- takes pills, struggles and slumps to the ground in multiple scenes. Two bullies cruelly tease and attack the clown; he collapses, bleeding.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Minute Maid, Aunt Jemima, Trader Joe's, Ben Gay, Midol.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Clown suffers from a heart issue and takes pills to resolve his discomfort.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Boy, The Dog and The Clown is a direct-to-DVD movie about the magical relationship between a 10-year-old boy and a fanciful, homeless clown. Healing from grief and loss is a central element of the story, as is belief in miracles, magic, and happy endings. There are sad moments, joyful moments, as well as some scares and suspense. Action includes (spoiler alerts): the taunting and physical assault of the clown by two bullies; he's knocked down and bloodied. In a tense sequence, the boy meets up with both a snake and a bear, falls, and is hurt, but makes a quick recovery. In a number of scenes, the clown appears to be suffering from a problem with his heart; on one occasion he takes pills to relieve the symptoms. The movie is suited for kids who clearly understand the difference between real and pretend violence, and not for those with fear of clowns.

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What's the story?

Only days before his tenth birthday, Adrien (Adrien Lyon) meets an unusual clown (Gabriel Dell, Jr.) and his dog Foxy in THE BOY, THE DOG AND THE CLOWN. Their meeting seems destined as they laugh together, quickly bond, and promise to meet again. Adrien is excited when he tells his mom (Kiki Del Vecchio) about the wonderful friendship he's made, and the magic tricks Clown can perform. But the next day, when Adrien brings Clown home, Mom is VERY surprised, and wary. But she, too, is charmed, not only because it's the first time she's seen her son so happy since the death of his dad, but because Clown is simply delightful. When Adrien convinces his mother to include Clown on their birthday camping trip with his aunt and uncle, the three take off on what is to be a wonderful adventure. And wonderful it is, until circumstances put Adrien, Foxy, and Clown in danger, and it appears that the clown has very mysterious origins.  

Is it any good?

This movie wants you to put away any reluctance to trust in magic, any need for straight answers or logical solutions, and simply go with a story of enchantment and the power of love and belief. The filmmaking team doesn't even attempt to explain or resolve plot elements that drive The Boy, The Dog and The Clown. That's not their goal. The movie is warmhearted, funny, and passionate about the need for miracles at challenging times. It's a low-budget production with family collaboration: Adrien Lyon is the son of the writer/director and Foxy is the Lyon pet. The boy makes up for his inexperience with a heartfelt performance. And Gabriel Dell, Jr. is a stellar clown.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of movies like The Boy, The Dog and The Clown, which help kids cope with difficult situations like death and grief. Why do you think that it's sometimes easier to deal with such disturbing feelings by watching others experience them and find hope or resolution? Can you think of a movie that made a difference for you? 

  • Movies often give us an opportunity to learn. Find out more about clowns, who have been part entertainment history for centuries. What is coulrophobia

  • In stories like this one, there's usually one character who isn't convinced that there's magic. Who is that person? What finally convinces the character to believe?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

Themes & Topics

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