Parents' Guide to

The Great Gilly Hopkins

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Book-based drama has strong messages on family, friendship.

Movie PG 2016 99 minutes
The Great Gilly Hopkins Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 11+

Great Movie

good morals not for young kids okay for preteens ** warning has bad some bad word and makes reference to stuff in history race related

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
age 9+

awesome said me the kid

great movie

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10):
Kids say (9):

Thanks to a faithful script by David Paterson, the book author's son, this adaptation stays true to the spirit of the original, with solid performances that make Gilly's evolution believable. Nelisse, best known for her starring role in The Book Thief, does look a bit old to play Gilly, but she does a great job making her character both fragile and unfriendly, which makes her difficult to like at first. But this is as it should be, since abandoned foster kids can't all be as sweet as Little Orphan Annie. The young actress' expressive face makes it clear that the only person she needs or wants is her birth mother, whom she daydreams about and hopes will come rescue her.

Bates and Cobbs are fabulously cast as Trotter and Mr. Randolph. Both patiently show Gilly the love and respect she's been lacking for most of her life. Their performances, along with those of Octavia Spencer as Miss Harris and Glenn Close as Nonnie, are notably good. Every now and then, the dialogue between the kids feels a bit stiff, but the acting is good enough to overcome some small flaws. And, of course, since the screenwriter is the son of the source book's author, it's clear (like with Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes) that someone who loves the story helped make The Great Gilly Hopkins. Gilly isn't an easy main character to love, but that's part of her appeal -- she's utterly human. She's had more tragedy than most kids can understand, and yet she grows, heals, and loves.

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