Because Of Winn Dixie

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What Is It?

Because of Win Dixie” started as a book by Kate DiCamillo. The story has now moved to the big screen thanks to Walden Media. This production company seems to want to use movies to get kids to read the book. With this in mind, the film adaptation follows the source material almost exactly word for word.

This is the story of India Opel (Annasophia Robb) who is the daughter of a preacher (Jeff Daniels). She has just moved to Naomi Florida. After praying (that’s right PRAYING) for friends, she meets a dog who introduces her to the rest of the down and out disconnected town.

How Was It?

If you have seen the adds for this film, you will probably think that it is the worst kids flick ever made. The add takes the 60 worst seconds of this delightful film and tries to make it look as if the plot is all about wedgies.

In reality this well cast, character driven journey though the “sweet and sad” of life and relationships is very worthy of it’s spot on the marquee. The characters and situations are all just a little off from reality, but
they still possess human emotions and problems that make us able to relate to the situations and long for the magic of the miracles we see in this little girl’s life.

And yes, Dave Matthews of the “Dave Matthews Band” can act. (At least he could for this part.)

Is It Good For Kids?

It is slower than most any other film aimed at kids in recent memory. This may be a deterrent to some children. Still I think it’s a great opportunity to showcase characters and story and not just the next over the top special effect. Other than that the film is very clean, there are some insults exchanged which are very clearly shown as bad by the end of the film. The film also deals with hard issues. Issues like mom leaving her kids, the death of a little brother, war, jail, and alcoholism. What I saw did not exploit any of these issues, but presented them with a perspective most parents would be comfortable with.

The real cautionary issue is that a police man has been added to the plot. (He was not in the book.) He is in two short scenes. Both seem to just be there so kids can laugh at the “dumb guy.” It should be mentioned to children that one bad police man in a movie does not mean that we should not respect people in authority, especially those who’s job it is to protect us.

You can check www.ScreenIt.com for a complete break down of elements shown on the screen.

How about Spiritual Issues?

The film is not evangelical in nature. (I don’t think anyone who worked on it was Christian, except for Leah Nash of “Sixpence None the Richer“, who sang one of the songs.) Still the plot is about a preachers daughter. God is thanked for what happens and even seen as the one who brings the dog to the girl.

If you are able to pick up any of the sermon (which is drown out by the dog, Winn-Dixie, trying to catch a mouse while the church cheers,) you will hear about how the church is called to bring people together and with God’s help “lift this town up.” This sermon is then lived out by his daughter. The film ends (and this is not a big spoiler) with some of the characters singing a hymn. The hymn serves to sum up some of the major points of the film and leave you with something positive to hum on your way out.

What Is Your Recommendation?

It’s just a big smoldering pot of niceness that has enough melancholy mixed in that it never comes off sappy. Know that it’s a little slower than most the films you will see this year.  Go in, relax and enjoy while you support pro-Christian characters in a Hollywood film.

A fun thing to do with the family may be to get the book. Read it as a family. (It goes quick.) Then stop reading when it starts raining at the party and go see the movie.

 

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