Pin It
Favorite

DVD Review 

by Christine Beamer & r & Because of Winn-Dixie & r & Movie adaptations of books are always tricky because of the time limit -- 200 pages must be nicely condensed to fit a two-hour picture. In movies such as Because of Winn-Dixie, the condensed version feels too simple to be truly moving.


The film (which closely follows the award-winning children's book with the same title) tells the story of a little girl named Opal (AnnaSophia Robb) and her preacher father (Jeff Daniels) who move to a small Southern town. Opal misses her mother who abandoned her and is lonely in her new town until she finds a friend in a pooch she adopts, named Winn-Dixie. The dog helps her mend her relationship with her father and helps the eclectic townspeople rediscover a sense of community. Isn't that sweet?


In attempting sweetness, however, the movie becomes a bit unbelievable. Robb is a talented new actress, but her grasp of her inner feelings and of other people's problems would be more believable in someone twice her age. For example, when Opal tastes a piece of candy from a neighbor, she says that the candy is like life -- sweet with some underlying bitterness. Right, I know a lot of 10-year-olds who say things like that all the time. And can anyone say clich & eacute;d metaphor?


The story also moves slowly, which sets up natural and poignant vignettes of Opal talking with the townspeople, but may make children go to sleep. Moreover, there are significant plot holes, such as why the policeman in this tiny town only realizes that the pet store clerk is a convicted criminal months after he starts working there. The most glaring fault, though, is the stereotyped policeman character, who provides all the compulsory sight gags with no finesse or comic timing.


Yet with these flaws, there is still an underlying charm to the movie. The odd townspeople are fascinating characters, and Robb's confusion and sadness over her mother is believable. Robb and Daniels also succeed at creating a natural father-daughter relationship, and the dog's antics (which could easily have been overdone) were delightful as well as believable.


It would be nice if problems such as loneliness and isolation could be fixed by something as simple as a precocious girl and her dog. And that's the strength -- and weakness -- of Winn-Dixie.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Pacifying the Future
  • Pacifying the Future

    A local homebuilder has embraced a design strategy that could be the future of buildings
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • Surge Protectors
  • Surge Protectors

    Solar and wind power need batteries to be reliable; Demand Energy's software makes those batteries more efficient
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • Innovation Station
  • Innovation Station

    Toolbox is a space for innovative products to grow
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Think & Drink: "Writing in the Margins: Race in Literature"

Think & Drink: "Writing in the Margins: Race in Literature" @ Lindaman's

Tue., April 28, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Restore the Honesty

    Re-establishing trust with the public will require courage on the part of our elected officials
    • Apr 8, 2015
  • Don't Test Me

    The Smarter Balanced standardized test has sparked a rebellion in Western Washington — and it's spreading
    • Apr 15, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation