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Parents' Guide to

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Coming-of-age movie has some emotionally intense scenes.

Movie PG 2006 85 minutes
When Zachary Beaver Came to Town Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (1 ):

Based on the award-winning book by Kimberly Willis Holt, WHEN ZACHARY BEAVER CAME TO TOWN comes across as a realistic representation of tweens coming of age. This has as much to do with the acting as it does the writing; Jonathan Lipnicki is believable as a tween angry with his parents, getting his first kiss, and trying to make sense of the bigger world out there. The life, pace, and small Texas town setting come through effectively, and the movie is unafraid to tackle topics such as death and parental abandonment.

That being said, there are times when it feels like the movie tries to do too much. So much is already happening with Toby and Cal, Zachary Beaver feels at times to be superfluous. So many lessons are being taught, there isn't time for the first lesson to sink in before the next one is tackled. But in a way, though, that's refreshing, as so many coming-of-age movies barely attempt even one lesson on anything. And while some lessons are more heavy-handed than others, the film's ultimate message of empathy should resonate with families mature enough to handle the film's more serious moments.

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