A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Legend of Longwood is a live-action film about a young American girl transplanted to Ireland. The story involves horses, a mysterious black knight who has haunted the countryside for 300 years, and a nefarious modern-day plot to steal land from an earl at any cost. Some of the scenes are spooky with menacing images: the black knight racing through the forest on his black horse, several raging fires, and animals and the heroine in peril. Several deaths are important to the plot, though none occur on-screen. One heroic horse and one kindly stable hand are severely injured in accidents and hover on the brink of death. Definitely best-suited for kids who clearly understand make-believe action and violence, and it will be particularly appealing for those who love modern-day mythological tales and horse stories. Bits of Irish dialect may be difficult for American audiences to understand at times.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
An unexpected inheritance from an unlikely relative sends Mickey Miller (Lucy Morton), her mom (Thekla Reuten), and her little brother to Ireland in THE LEGEND OF LONGWOOD. Mickey, still hoping they'll receive word of her father, long missing on an expedition in Egypt, and quite content with her life as it is in New York, wants none of it. When the family arrives in Longwood, Ireland, the strangeness of this rural land and the coldness of her new schoolmates make Mickey even more unhappy. It's only when she encounters a curious but gentle old woman living in a centuries-old castle with a mysterious past and six startlingly white horses that Mickey begins to see some possibilities opening to her. The heroine's adventurous nature and her love for the animals find her not only unraveling the town's legend but also facing off against two sinister and murderous scoundrels who want to turn the beautiful village into a money-making resort.
Is it any good?
Lucy Morton gives an especially likable and solid performance as young Mickey. In addition, confident directing by Lisa Mulcahy, beautiful visuals of the Irish countryside, and shots of magnificent horses keep this often predictable and sometimes too-complex story watchable. The story is filled with familiar elements: the adjustments that must be made when a child moves to a new home in an unfamiliar community; protecting wildlife from the evils of commerce; encountering a conniving and evil villainess who is transparent to our heroine but not to others; plus, standing up to assorted bullies. Then, when all the mythical elements are added -- an unsolved 300-year-old mystery of dead and lost children, a hidden journal, an exotic amulet that goes missing -- the plot becomes hard to untangle. But Mickey, and hopefully an audience of legend lovers, is game to try.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of legends, myths, and fairy tales. Why do you think the kids in a movie are more apt to believe in such stories than the grown-ups?
How did Mickey Miller handle the bullies she met when she came to Ireland? What did that moment on the bus tell you about Mickey's character and what we might expect from her during her adventure?
Think about the scenes that show the origin of the Black Knight and the legend. How do the filmmakers use special effects to differentiate past and present? Was it effective?
- On DVD or streaming: June 2, 2015
- Cast: Lucy Morton, Thekla Reuten
- Director: Lisa Mulcahy
- Studio: Holland Harbour Productions
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: peril, thematic elements, and some mild language
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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