A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that just like the classic book Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, 11-year-old Pippi lives without parents: her mother is dead (Pippi talks to her in the clouds a couple times), and her father is lost at sea after they're separated in a storm at the beginning of the movie. Adventure -- and danger -- seem to follow Pippi, who rescues kids and her pet monkey trapped in a burning building and convinces two kids to run away from home, and nearly gets them sent over a waterfall in barrels. Pippi is an endearing character because of her free spiritedness and creative approach to life, but her disregard for manners and the authority of adults may also grate on parents.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Eleven-year-old Pippi (Tami Erin) is happily singing with her captain dad on his ship when a nasty storm kicks up and both are sent adrift in different directions. Dad tells her to go to the house Villa Ville Kula and wait for him, and she does with her monkey Mr. Nilsson and spotted horse Alfonso. Living alone in small town still provides lots of diversions for Pippi, who befriends the neighbor kids and teaches them wacky games and buys ice cream for all the orphans with her plethora of gold. But not everyone is keen on her carefree lifestyle. Three villains want to take over her house and steal her gold and the local orphanage tries to force her to go to this odd place called "school."
Is it any good?
Sometimes it's hard to weigh production values against what kids will find enjoyable and parents may find nostalgic. On the production side, the acting is not so hot, the music is atrocious (the jaunty Casio keyboard reprise of "Running Away" being a real low point), and some of the magical moments (Pippi's random ability to jump high, spin, or do flips) and characters (Home Alone-style villains and Dick Van Patten as a glue man) are just plain odd.
But there's a reason generations have loved Pippi and it's here. She tells outrageous tall tales, she's very inventive, she goes against all authority in a creative way, and tosses ice cream to a crowd. She's someone who's always making her own fun, her wheels always turning -- a great take-away for kids of all ages. Just be careful not to get those songs stuck in your head.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Pippi. Why do you think she's such an enduring character? What does Pippi miss out on by living her lifestyle? What does she gain? What lessons can kids and parents take from Pippi's attitude?
What other spunky girl characters can you think of? How is Pippi different from Annie?
- In theaters: July 29, 1988
- On DVD or streaming: April 24, 2001
- Cast: Cory Crow, David Seaman, Tami Erin
- Director: Ken Annakin
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: October 30, 2020
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