Parents' Guide to

The Tiger Rising

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Disappointing adaptation has upsetting ending, gun violence.

Movie PG 2021 102 minutes
The Tiger Rising Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 9+

The Book is Better

This is a totally fine adaptation of the novel, but it definitely holds to the fact that the book is always much better. I think they handled the violence well at the end by making it more comic book style. If you haven't read the book, you should absolutely read it. You will understand the film much more. This is a great way to teach figurative language, symbolism, and theme.
age 10+

If You Liked the Book, You Will Like the Movie

The Tiger Rising movie adaptation follows the storyline of the book, for the most part. It was well cast and the overall setting, dialog, costume design followed the book. My 10 year old took a while to get over the fact the characters did not pronounce the motel owners name correctly! The added scenes with Rob’s mom were well done and helped us connect with the characters. As in the book, tempers flare and the different interpersonal tensions are portrayed, but not to the point of being scary. The tiger was stunning to look at. The movie ends similarly to the book ending, and was emotional. I think fans of this book will enjoy the movie version. Our family certainly did.

Is It Any Good?

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

While great stories are always great, good books don't always translate into good movies -- and that's the case here. The Tiger Rising's problems are many, starting with the pacing. The story moves as slowly and suffocatingly as a humid Florida summer day. First-time feature director Ray Giarratana uses elements that, in theory, should have perked things up: Rob's imagination runs wild, his drawings and wood sculptures coming to life. Bullies are constantly jabbing and poking, but Sistine punches back (or first, depending on how you look at it). And, of course, there's a tiger! Giarratana is an established special-effects supervisor (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Captain America: Civil War), and while his skills are put to great use in the form of the absolutely flawless CGI tiger, animations, and rich photography and lighting, the film lacks energy. Most of the characters are depressed, and that's what comes through on screen.

The acting is distractingly inconsistent. Dennis Quaid's Beauchamp -- the nasty, impatient owner of a seedy motel -- is just right for a kids' move villain: He's someone to fear, but we can also see his ridiculousness and unhappiness. Producer Queen Latifah plays motel maid Willie May with the relatable kindness present in most of her film characterizations. These two stand in sharp contrast to the kids who carry the weight of the dialogue. Convery and Mills aren't rookies, but their performances come off as act-y and unbelievable, something that could've been remedied by stronger direction and tighter editing. The biggest problem, though, is that the ending is so harsh. It's outrageous and upsetting and is followed by a hasty resolution in the form of voiceover that tries to tie a bow on things and say, "And so they all lived happily ever after, OKAY?!" It's the kind of ending where your jaw is on the floor, aghast that this is a kids' film. DiCamillo (who's also the author of previous movie fodder books Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Desperaux) is known as a wordsmith, crafting doses of reality in beautifully turned phrases and authentic characters, a reliable phenom in the world of children's fiction authors. But this heartbreaking story is best left on the page.

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