Parents' Guide to

The Greening of Whitney Brown

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

So-so tween riches-to-rags story has positive lesson.

Movie PG 2011 87 minutes
The Greening of Whitney Brown Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 11+


The grandpa uses the word "damn" at one point, and the kids were embarrassed by the overly long scene of the parents lying in bed together cuddling. I didn't like the shallow interactions between the middle school girls. The rest of the movie was ok, though. Not great, but ok.
age 8+

Not as Bad as Some Critics Say.

The film follows a familiar cinematic formula: a spoiled, self-centered, irritating big city girl, moves to a rural location where she gradually becomes less irritating, more likeable, and finally lovable. Usually there is a horse involved in the change and in this film it is a very unusual horse, a Gpysy Vanner, that has to be seen to be appreciated. What a horse. His Name is Bob. Bob and Whitney become best friends and then embark on an adventure that includes some laughably implausible events, such as Whitney jumping from galloping Bob's back and through the open doors of a fast moving freight train. Kids, don't try that at home! Overall, I think critics have been too hard on this movie, both for the implausible story line, and for Whitney's personality. My opinion is that the young actress who plays Whitney, exudes so much energy and charisma that it's hard not to like her even when she seems wrapped up in her "queen bee" role at her big city Middle School. When she becomes an outcast at her new rural school it's impossible not to siympathize with her. Kris Krisstoferson reprises his grumpy grandpa role from "Dreamer" and adds an anchor to a story that is a bit over the top. But hey, it's a kids' movie, and I have seen much worse.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (2):

Whitney isn't a particularly likable protagonist -- she's spoiled and self centered, like most rich kids in movies. "Country living" is supposed to cure her of her bratty behavior, but even once she learns to love Bob, get dirty, and sew, she's still not the sort of character most viewers will cheer. At the very least, Hanratty is a slightly better actress than her private-school pals, some of whom are so over the top with their cringe-worthy eye rolling and hair tossing that it's hard to watch them on screen.

What makes this particular tween confection unbearably unrealistic is how zen Whitney's parents are about their downward turn in fortune. Joan restarts a tradition by her late mother-in-law to make homemade jams on the farm, and even Henry seems more or less at peace with his return to the working class. Adding to the predictable plot is how Grandpa and Whitney get to know each other so well that they're sharing secrets by the end of the movie. Of all the characters in the movie, Bob the horse is clearly the most relatable. He just wants someone to ride him and show him the way. Horse-loving tweens may get a kick out of this story, but otherwise, you've already seen this fish out of water tale dozens of times.

Movie Details

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