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The Three Lives of Thomasina
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
THE THREE LIVES OF THOMASINA is set in 1912 Scotland. Mary MacDhui (Karen Dotrice) is a little girl whose mother has died. She loves her cat Thomasina more than anything in the world. Her father Andrew (Patrick McGoohan), a veterinarian, is a very rational man who has a hard time showing Mary how much she means to him, or understanding how much Thomasina means to her. He is unable to cure Thomasina when she is hurt and puts her to sleep, a choice that is rational, but insensitive. Mary's supportive friends help her plan a funeral, which is interrupted by Lori MacGregor (Susan Hampshire), a mysterious woman who cures animals with herbs and affection and is thought to be a witch. Lori finds Thomasina, who is not dead; she has just used up one of her nine lives. In a fantasy scene set in Cat Heaven, Thomasina is reborn, with no memory of her previous life. The townspeople begin to bring their sick animals to Lori, upset because Andrew put his daughter's cat to sleep. Mary sees Thomasina and runs after her in a rainstorm. When she falls ill, Andrew, desperate, goes to Lori for help. Lori tells him that his love is what Mary needs.
Is it any good?
This family film delves into some pretty deep topics, such as death, the importance of communicating one's feelings, and of family bonds and love. Andrew represents the head, and Lori the heart. In the beginning of the story, both are isolated. Thomasina and Mary bring them together. Children may be interested in the way that the funeral arrangements are such a comfort to Mary. They may also want to know more about why Andrew had such a problem communicating his feelings.
WARNING: Some children may be upset over the notion that a cat can die and come back; some who have lost a pet (or a family member) may be upset that they don't come back.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what they think about Mary's decision not to talk to her father. Was that a good way to solve the problem? What was her father's reaction? Was that a good way to solve the problem? Why is it harder for some people to talk about their feelings than others? Is it ever hard for you to talk about yours?
For kids who love animals
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