Final quick Lent Film Party Movie Reviews! THE SECRET OF KELLS, I PREFER HEAVEN, and THE MIRACLE MAKER

Man, I really dropped the ball with movie reviews this year. Sorry about that! We did end up watching a few more movies, but not as many as I hoped. Here’s some quick reviews:

The Secret of Kells

It was such a beautiful, such an interesting movie, just visually ravishing.

but I came away unsatisfied. The kids didn’t start the movie knowing that the actual Book of Kells is the Gospels, and they didn’t know it by the end, either. Which is weird! It’s weird to have a whole movie about a powerful book, but never mention what the book is about. It’s okay for a movie not to teach religious things, but the whole lynchpin of the story is that the book, and what preserving it represents, is what chases out evil and darkness. They explicitly say so. And yet they never tell you what kind of book it is. That is a major flaw in the story. There’s also some suggestion that art itself, or the creative process itself, or possibly just uncurtailed creativity, is what conquers evil. But they simply don’t develop this idea. 

I wanted to like the movie, and the images in it were very powerful. But I don’t know what it was about; and for a film that’s absolutely drenched in portent, that’s a problem. Normally I’m not a fan of voice overs, but in this case, I would be in favor of someone recording a simple explainer to tie together all the themes that someone apparently thought were speaking for themselves.  Anyway, I’d like to watch it again, because I’m sure I’m not catching everything, but I was disappointed in how glib it was. 

Audience suitability: Kids ages 7 and up watched it at our house. It’s not gory or anything, but it’s fairly intense, with lots of scenes of violence and war, as well as scary, threatening magical creatures. So not suitable for sensitive kids. (I found the portrayal of war upsetting, myself.) It does portray supernatural powers and creatures as factual, but that’s part of the plot: It’s the struggle between the old pagan world and the new Christian order. So we talked to the kids about how that actually happened (if not exactly as portrayed); and we also talked about how, exactly, Christianity brought light into the darkness. I just wish this movie had demanded a little more of itself.

***

St. Philip Neri: I Prefer Heaven

It’s a long ‘un, and we have only watched the first part, right up until some prostitutes show up and one of our kids asked what a prostitute was and my husband said he would tell her tomorrow, and then he claimed that he said “we” meaning the royal we, meaning me. And then some of the kids went on a class trip to DC, and left their fanny pack of insulin in the Botanical Gardens, and everybody’s alive, but somehow and we haven’t gotten around to watching the rest of the movie yet.

That being said, this is one of the most winsome, appealing, entertaining portrayals of a saint I have ever seen. Also some of the best child actors I have seen in a long time. 

There aren’t many clips available online. Here’s the end of the scene where he has to get the kids together to try to impress the pope, so he’ll be allowed to have his oratorio. 

This is one of the hokier scenes of the movie, but in context, it was also deeply sweet and moving, and they pulled it off, slow motion and all. The way he so humbly and strenuously appeals to the crucifix on his wall, clearly fully expecting to get some response, was really striking. I don’t know anything else about Philip Neri, so I don’t know how accurate the movie is, but the character is a wonderful portrayal of holiness, which is saying something. The actor did a great job of portraying a man with a specific personality, including flaws and bad habits, but also a holy self-forgetfulness, single-mindedness, and joy that really rang true. He also had the most blindingly white chompers I’ve seen in ages. 

It is in Italian with English subtitles. They are pretty easy to read, and the dialogue is not terribly complicated, so everyone got into the swing of it pretty quickly. The story moves along briskly and it has lots of funny parts and plenty of bathos. It’s not a sophisticated movie, but it avoids gooey sentimentality by letting the characters act like real people, even if the situations they are in are painted in pretty broad strokes. 

I also enjoyed seeing the costumes and hairstyles and food of Renaissance Italy (a real breath of fresh air while folks are learning history through, augh, Bridgerton). The whole family enjoyed it, which almost never happens. We streamed it through the Formed app. 

***

The Miracle Maker

A stop motion animation movie from 1999. Kind of a strange movie. 

I don’t disagree with anything Steve Greydanus wrote in his review of this movie, which he recommends every year. They did several tricky scenes extremely well; they used various kinds of animation to great effect; they were very clever in how they framed the whole thing, making Jairus’ daughter a full character who actually knew Jesus and spent time with him. And they more or less pulled off showing Jesus as someone with supernatural power and also as a magnetic man you would want to be friends with. That’s a lot!

But I’ve seen this movie three or four times, and I always find it mildly off-putting. Part of it is that Ralph Fiennes sounds so unlike Jesus to me. It’s partly just the timbre of his voice; but it’s also his delivery. Anyone would have a hard time figuring out how to deliver the mega-familiar lines from the Gospel, but he largely decides to go full Charlton Heston, all sweat and megaphone. Yes, the material is dramatic, but the constant sturm und drang approach just washed over me and didn’t leave a mark. As someone who’s heard those words a thousand times, a more subtle and thoughtful reading might have caught my attention. 

But at the same time, if I were completely unfamiliar with the life of Jesus and the basic tenets of Christianity, and someone showed me this movie as an introduction, I would come away thinking it was an incoherent mess. It’s very episodic (which, admittedly, the Gospels also are; but if I were making a 90-minute movie, I’d keep the themes and structure very tight, and they did not), and Jesus doesn’t appear to be following any discernible plan, but just sort of chasing his moods. He comes across as a little bit nuts, honestly. The writers lean too much on the viewer to connect the dots and make sense of who Jesus is and what he’s trying to achieve. It should have been six hours long, or else they should have been much stricter about what belonged in the movie. It’s hard to say why they chose specific scenes and left others out. 

I also struggled with the faces of many of the characters who were supposed to be appealing. Jesus himself was mostly good to look at, so that was a relief; but the child Tamar and several others were goblin-like and unpleasant to watch. 

But, the rest of the family liked it. I did like many scenes, and the crucifixion sequence was very affecting. My favorite scene is the miraculous catch of fish, which shows Jesus laughing as they struggle to drag all the fish into the boat, which I guess he would have done! 

I think it’s a good thing to see lots and lots of different portrayals of Christ, so that the ones that ring true for you get lodged in your head, rather than just the one someone happened to show you that one time you saw a Jesus movie. So this is a more than decent choice for one among many. 

***

And I guess that’s all we’re going to manage this year! We want to finish I Prefer Heaven, definitely.

Here are my previous Lent movie reviews from this year:

The Jeweler’s Shop

Fiddler on the Roof and The Scarlet and the Black

Ready or not, here comes Easter!

 

Just how much of a menace is TURNING RED?

In my innocence, I sat down to watch Turning Red with my kids this weekend. I had no idea that, while we watched, my fellow moms were tapping out warnings about the lurid, perverse, and downright SEXIFIED themes and images Disney Pixar would foist on an unsuspecting audience. 

I read the reviews after the movie, and I regret to inform you that everyone is nuts.

So even though I thought Turning Red was a fairly flawed movie, I’m going to review it because some of the reviews out there are unusually whackadoo. (Caveat: I only watched the movie once, so maybe I got some details wrong.) This review will include spoilers. I watched it with girls ages 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, and 20 and my son, 18, and my husband, and we all liked it, but had a lot to talk about afterwards. And I had one big complaint.

It’s a coming of age movie. It’s about a group of girls hitting puberty, noticing boys, starting to realize their parents don’t know everything, and figuring out what it means to grow up; and it’s about her mother dealing with all of these things. The target audience is not little kids. It won’t hurt them to watch it, but it wasn’t made for them. 

Here’s the trailer:

 

The plot (again, spoilers): Mei and her loving but overbearing mother are caretakers for an ancestral temple. Suddenly, Mei suffers an abrupt transformation: Strong emotions turns her into a giant red panda. It turns out the gods bestowed the power to become a savage animal on one of her ancestors so she could defend her family, but subsequent women in her family have gone through a ritual where they fight down the inner animal and contain it in a talisman. Mei discovers she can control it by thinking calm thoughts about the love of her friends, but she agrees to do the ritual. Her mother calls the family but oh no! The ritual is on the same day as the concert she and her friends want to go to. Mei defies her parents and decides to trust her own powers to not turn into a red panda. Mei’s mom is so upset that she re-pandafies herself humongously and goes on a destructive but hilarious rampage, and can only be stopped when all the aunts also become pandas. They all then undergo the ritual again, but Mei decides not to go through with it, choosing instead to remain a person who is sometimes a panda. At the end, she uses this power to promote the temple where she works with her mom. 

It was entertaining throughout, and the characters were appealing and had a little more depth and melancholy than you often see in children’s animated movies. The girls’ silliness and sorrows were presented with a good combination of comedy and compassion, so you could laugh with recognition at how ridiculous their problems are, but also feel deeply how deeply they felt them. The funny parts were really funny, and Mei and her friends came across as actual middle school weirdos, not with slick, pre-packaged quirks, but the kind of weirdness that makes them a little obnoxious and stupid sometimes, as well as endearing and unpredictable. Toward the end, Mei meets her mother as a girl, and realizes that she had the same doomed yearning to please her own mother, so, yeah, I cried. 

I liked that it was really, truly about girls. Not an adventure story that they plugged a girl into; not a girl showing what she’s made of by cutting off her hair and kicking ass. Just girls acting like girls, and being good friends to each other. I liked that her friends loved and supported her when they thought she was being awesome and when they thought she was being a goody-goody. I didn’t like that they encouraged her to sneak around her parents, but it was realistic. The vibe was more Derry Girls than Girls Gone Wild.

I liked the dad. At first they played him as the goofy, ineffectual lesser partner, but then he sits down with his daughter and kindly teaches her that strong emotions are part of her, and that stuffing them into an amulet is not necessarily the best way to deal with them. This is pretty good advice, and it was good to see a quiet but wise dad with emotional intelligence, who had a good relationship with his daughter, and respects his wife but is maybe a little sad about the past. The parents clearly have interior lives, which you don’t often see in kid’s movies.

The reviewers complaining about hypersexualized scenes were disturbingly off the mark. The scene where Mei is taunting her mother and shaking her butt happens because her mother is literally a raging monster and has to be lured into the magic circle. The scenes where the girls say things like “now we’re women” or where they say they’re going to go in girls and come out women are played with a wink. This is clearly what the girls think, and it’s clearly untrue. The scene where Mei is under the bed sweating, and one reviewer said it showed her having her first orgasm? To those who are defiled, nothing is pure. These are just kids hitting puberty and noticing sexy thoughts in a very typical, slightly ridiculous way. My teen girls totally realized they were being teased, and they thought it was funny.

You moms who think it’s sick and perverse and an emergency and heartbreaking that Disney would put puberty in a cartoon, YOU ARE GOING TO TURN UP IN SOMEONE’S CARTOON SOMEDAY. And you’re not going to like how they draw you. 

It mentions Mei’s period, several times. It’s not gross or explicit; it just talks about it, because she’s 13. It deals with it in a way that is extremely familiar to girls and women; i.e.; it’s uncomfortable to talk about, but it happens anyway, and nobody asked for it, and mom tries to help and makes it worse, and ugh, but oh well, period. This is really not hair-on-fire stuff. It’s actually a gift for you, if you’ve had a hard time trying to get yourself to introduce the topic to your kids. This movie may make it a bit easier. (For the people who think boys shouldn’t know about periods: You’re making the world worse.)

It has some weird ritualistic magicalistic scenes. It’s not terribly scary except for some glowing eyes and bared teeth. If you were planning to show your kids a movie about a girl turning into a red panda and then you’re shocked that there’s magic, I don’t know what to tell you. 

So, there was a lot to like about the movie. It’s very much about the things we do because of anxiety, and how to do better, and about not trying to be someone you’re not, but learning to work with who you are, and it’s about (or at least wants to be about) whether we just love each other, or if we have to earn each other’s love.  It does show pretty egregious defiance without a lot of comeuppance, but a lot of shit went down over the course of the movie, and these are clearly people who are invested in having a good relationship with each other, so I feel pretty confident this family will work it out. This isn’t a “mommy knows best” movie, but it’s not a “kids know best” movie, either; it’s a “kids are their own people, and that’s how they learn” movie. 

And it was yet another therapy movie. Which are fine as far as they go, but which I hope we can start getting past as a society soon, because writers are learning that, if you lean heavily enough on themes of working through family trauma, people will not notice giant gaping plot holes. 

But I noticed. 

Look, I’m sorry this is so long, but this is driving me crazy. And it’s something Old Good Pixar never would have put up with. 

The entire plot hinges on Mei’s choice: Is she going to suppress her panda, or is she going to “keep it?”  Is she going to go through the ritual to contain her explosive emotional power in a piece of jewelry like most of her ancestors, or will she be her own person? 

But they never supply a real reason why it’s a dilemma. It takes Mei a few days to get used to occasionally poofing into a red panda, but apparently all she has to do is imagine being with her friends, and that calms her down enough so she can control it almost entirely. She thinks people in school will shun her, but in fact the other girls think she’s adorable (in a funny scene where their eyes become huge and sparkly). It not only makes her popular, she uses her power to quickly raise almost $800. So not only is there no real peril in this alleged dilemma, but she gets immediately rewarded in several ways for choosing one side, and that turns out to be the right choice for her, and her ancestor smiles at her. It’s like the opposite of Russian roulette: none of the chambers are loaded.

This is the very same shortcut they took in the movie Luca, which was another charming, beguiling movie that set up a conflict and then didn’t quite take the trouble to work through its implications. In Luca, sea monsters are hated and feared and reviled; and humans are viewed the same way by sea monsters. But when Luca transforms, it takes him about eleven seconds to realize that nobody is actually bad or evil or dangerous, and everyone is actually fine and cool and neat. And there is never any explanation for why Luca is able to reconcile himself to this idea so quickly, and no one else, in the history of ever, has been able to see the truth, but has always clung to their prejudices for no reason at all.

Both movies take for granted that the viewer is already thinking: People in the past didn’t understand things; but people nowadays do understand things. Okay? Okay. So now we do the plot. 

This is lazy, lazy, lazy. The broad themes of both movies were that people (in Luca, it was some people; in Turning Red, it was all people, or all women, or maybe all women in this family? This, too, is sloppy) have some kind of weird, untamed, messy side to them, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But they skip over explaining to the audience why anyone would think it is a bad thing. It’s like going to a bakery where they offer two kinds of donuts, and there’s a big struggle, and in the end . . . you get donuts. Nothing wrong with donuts, but it’s not exactly a good story. 

You may say that, in Turning Red, this is deliberate, because both choices (to keep the panda, or not) are valid. Mei’s father clearly kinda liked his wife’s wild side; and Mei told her mom it was okay to contain her panda again, because that’s what she wanted to do. Both choices are presented as okay, so that’s why there’s no clear right or wrong choice, and that’s why they didn’t present it as a perilous decision.

But this theory doesn’t hold up, because Mei’s grandmother makes a point of telling Mei that the more she lets her panda out, the harder it will be to contain during the ritual. I may be remembering wrong, but I think she even said that it can only be done once, and must be done perfectly. But as it turns out, if there is an emergency, you can just go ahead and smash your talisman and let your panda out to fight for a while, and then draw another circle and do another ritual and calmly step back through the mystical mirror and – schloop! – your panda just goes back where she belongs, no harm, no foul. So in fact, the choice that all the women made was meaningless, because you can apparently go back on it at any time. 

And in fact, you cannot even argue that both choices are valid, because Mei’s mom, as a red panda, completely demolished the Sky Dome. It’s never explained whether she will be sent a bill, or what. I know this is a commonly excused plot hole in superhero movies, but the movie explicitly asked us to consider whether or not Mei ought to allow herself to become a giant monstrous creature. I feel like “will she sometimes wreck half the city?” should be part of the conversation. (Insert “now who’s turning red, communism/captitalism” joke here; I’m too tired.)
EDIT: A few folks have pointed out that, in fact, Mei and her mom are shown raising money to rebuild the Sky Dome at the end, so I just whiffed this part. Sorry! 

I have one other complaint, and that is how it looked.  I believe they were going for a style that would appeal to the kids who were 13 in the year 2002, and that makes sense. But in practice, it came across as Dreamworks-trashy.

Bottom line: Not a must-see, by any means, but watchable, and will probably be important to some people for emotional reasons. It’s an interesting movie, and no doubt will influence others. I reviewed it mainly to counteract all the bananas reviews that were out there. For my money, The Little Mermaid has a far more insidious message for little girls than this movie, so everyone needs to be cool. 

Lent Movie Review Vol. 3: THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS

See previous installations of our Friday Night Lent Film Party series: I CONFESS and THE ROBE

Everyone disliked The Robe pretty thoroughly and we wanted something very different, so we went with The Trouble With Angels (1966). No one in our family had seen this one before. We streamed it through Amazon for $3.99. Warning, this post will contain a spoiler.

 

The plot: Mary, a born leader and troublemaker (Hayley Mills), and Rachel, a willing follower (June Harding), are high school girls deposited at St. Francis Academy for Girls, where they immediately begin to hatch “scathingly brilliant ideas” for how to subvert the peace and stability of the school. The imperturbable Mother Superior (Rosalind Russell) is their particular nemesis whose patience is put to the test more and more.

The story is an episodic series of pranks and escapades, but it is gradually revealed that the various teaching nuns aren’t just all quirky in their own ways, but many of them have poignant, sometimes tragic pasts that led them to the convent. This is not lost on Mary, even as she continues to torment them and flout their rules. Eventually, Mary and Rachel’s mischief goes too far; but when their guardians are called in for an expulsion interview, Mother Superior discovers that Mary, too, has her reasons for being the way she is, and she has mercy on her (and sees promise in her). At the end, when the girls are graduating, Mother Superior announces that two girls will be joining the convent as novices, and one of them is Mary. Rachel is furious and feels betrayed, but Mary is at peace with her decision, and it’s clear that she can be who she is but may still have a true vocation. 

So, this is a very 1966 movie. It’s very mannered, and some stretches are tedious, and the some of the sight gags are painfully dated. There are some uncomfortable moments where the camera lingers on young girls’ thighs and bottoms for laughs. The accents are a mess, and it’s unclear exactly where the school is. There’s not a scrap of subtlety in sight.

At the same time, the movie doesn’t steal any bases. All the elements are there for the story of Mary’s gradual maturation, and Mother Superior’s growing affection, to make sense and feel real (and it is, in fact, based on a memoir, Life with Mother Superior by Jane Trahey). Haley Mills is a much better actor than I realized, and there were a few truly moving moments, as well as several funny ones. I liked that it showed true friendship between the nuns, as well. I would have liked it better if they cut about twenty minutes out, but I did like it.

Overall, recommended. The animated opening and closing credits are a lot of fun, too.

Next up: I don’t know! I’ll probably push for Babette’s Feast.  The kids somehow manage to read subtitles when they’re watching their Dragonballs, so they can’t beg off on those grounds.

Some of us also re-watched Hail, Caesar, which I appreciated even more after having seen The Robe. I love Hail Caesar so much. The Cohen brothers are upfront about not knowing what to do about God (“Divine presence to be shot,” it says on the screen of the religious epic they’re filming, to mark the place where they’ll add in God later), but it’s less nihilistic and less yearning, overall, and very sweet and very funny. Everyone is just doing their best, according to their very varied abilities. Recommended all to pieces, probably for ages 10 and up.

 

 

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WONDER is sappy and predictable. Take your kids anyway.

When the dog died, I said to myself, “They are gonna run out of trowels if they keep on laying it on this thick.”

It’s not really a spoiler to reveal that the family dog dies halfway through “Wonder.” There can be no true spoilers in “Wonder,” possibly the most predictable movie ever put to film.

But that’s okay. It doesn’t set out to be Chekov. “Wonder”has a simple, specific goal in mind: to remind children (and adults) that kindness matters; that people are not always what they seem; that we all need mercy sometimes; and that strength and goodness ripple outward. And it achieves that goal.

Read the rest of my latest for America Magazine.

Movie image: www.wonder.movie

MOANA review: Even the chosen one has a choice

Early on in the animated movie Moana (2016), the Polynesian chieftain’s daughter has an adorable pet pig who’s always getting into amusing scrapes. You think, as a seasoned Disney audience, that you’ve identified the heroine’s big-eyed, wordless sidekick.

But then Moana just sails off without her pig, and she accidentally and reluctantly acquires a brainless, completely un-cute chicken for a sidekick instead.

This switcheroo feels like a deliberate nose-thumb to predictable Disney tropes. Moana’s constant companion often provides comic relief, but not as a cutesy break from the story. Instead, she has to break away from her own concerns and preserve him from death countless times, because that’s the kind of person she is. And so we get our first clue that Moana is not your typical Disney princess.

Here she is as a baby:

She wants very much to pick up the beautiful shell that is being pulled back out to sea, but makes herself protect the baby turtle, instead. She’s rewarded not for who is she is, but for what she does.

And so the movie departs from typical Disney fare in a more important but less obvious way than the chicken sidekick. It’s instantly established that she’s a strong, determined, spirited girl who is different from the rest, and she’s going to end up disobeying her father and achieving something remarkable, a la Ariel/Belle/Pocahontas/Mulan/Et Al, setting herself apart from the people who want her to stay home, be good, take no chances, etc.

But! While Moana does disobey her father, she has an excellent, self-sacrificial reason for doing so. In fact, she has the same goals as her father has, and she ends up achieving what he has taught her from babyhood that it’s her duty to achieve.

So this is not yet another story where Ms. Lovely Rebel flips her hair at the patriarchy and is rewarded handsomely for betraying everyone who loves her. Instead, she is a good, loving daughter who follows her calling, rather than following her heart. Melanie Bettinelli goes into this refreshing theme in more detail. Obedience is good, but it’s in service to something greater, and sometimes you have to just go serve something greater more directly.

Which leads me to another appealing theme in Moana: There’s a lot about being chosen and being special and having a mission and fulfilling your destiny; but every single character also very clearly has free will, along with being chosen to act. Everyone makes a choice: Maui makes several choices; even the grandmother says, as she gets her (later significant) stingray tattoo, “I hope I made the right choice.”

Moana decides at one point that she can’t or won’t go on any further, and returns the magical whatsit to the ocean. She quits and tells the ocean to choose someone else. And the ocean accepts it.

She was the chosen one, but she still has a choice herself, and she is free to crap out, which she does. (Spoiler: She later changes her mind, and Does the Thing after all, and it’s awesome.) The ocean helps them and sometimes outright saves them, but they have to do a lot more helping of themselves, by deciding to be who they are meant to be.

It felt, for an animated Polynesian myth, an awful lot like how life really works.

Just as Moana discovers that she can fulfill what her father has taught her while still disobeying his explicit command (like her ancestors, finding new islands while keeping her home in mind), she learns that her mission is somewhat different (and quite a bit harder) than she originally thought. She thought she just had to fulfill the letter of the law, act out the myth, and the rest would fall into place. Turns out she has to get a lot more involved than that. This, too, felt a lot like real life.

And if we’re going to talk about the message that young girls are receiving from their cartoon heroines, I thoroughly endorse this one: Yes, you have a vocation, and yes, you need to follow it. No, that doesn’t mean everything will automatically sail smoothly toward your happy ending. At one point, Maui is horrified to find that Moana doesn’t actually know how to sail. She draws herself up and says, with feeble bravado, “I . . . am self-taught.” Yeah, that’s not good enough. Following your heart will only take you so far. You have to not only know what your goal is, but you have to learn how to get there.

This theme of free will choices leads up very neatly to the astonishing and tremendously satisfying climax of the movie, when Moana confronts the great lava demon and reminds her that she, too, has a choice.

Hot damn! That scene is so good (the above clip is only a little bit of it). Best animation I’ve seen in a long time, and very moving.

Other things I liked:

The plot was coherent, and the several themes worked well together. The only messy, unnecessary part was the coconut pirate scene. Seemed like a blatant bid for toy sales; and my old brain couldn’t understand what it was seeing, with all that hopping around and things exploding. But it didn’t last too long.

The heroine had a very pleasant singing voice. Not too nasal or brazen. This almost never happens, and I was very grateful.

All of the characters were likeable and interesting. This almost never happens, and I was very grateful.

It was weird. I don’t know much about Polynesian mythology, but the story was odd and occasionally harsh enough that I suspect they didn’t mess with the myth too much.

There’s no love story, at all. It’s just not that kind of story. The kid is maybe fourteen years old, and she has a lot going on. No boys need apply at this juncture.

A few minor complaints: The pacing was a little off. Some scenes were rushed and cluttered, and others were a little repetitious; but overall, it moved along well.

The mother was incredibly bland. They might as well have done the traditional Disney Dead Mother thing. She does explain her husband’s motivation for cracking down on Moana, and she helps her pack for the voyage, but anyone could have done that. This is a minor complaint, and is probably me projecting.

Several scenes throughout the movie captured something so exhilarating and joyful, I was amazed. The vision of her ancestors is a thing of beauty:

It is a captivating and rejuvenating movie. See it!

Might be scary for younger kids, depending on how sensitive they are.