HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Night Raiders
Samourai, Le
Advent Calendar, The
Champion
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
   
 
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
   
 
  Ramona and Beezus A little sister goes a long way
Year: 2010
Director: Elizabeth Allen
Stars: Joey King, Selena Gomez, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel, Sandra Oh, Jason Spevack, Sierra McCormick, Kathryn Zenna, Janet Wright, Ruby Curtis, Hutch Dano
Genre: Comedy, Drama, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ramona Quimby (Joey King) is an effervescent nine year old with a quirky outlook on life fuelled by her overactive imagination and unintentional knack for causing mischief and mayhem. Her long-suffering big sister Beezus (Selena Gomez), so nicknamed on account of Ramona’s mispronunciation of “Beatrice”, copes as best she can looking after her junior siblings, including baby Roberta, when dad Robert (John Corbett) loses his job and mom Dorothy (Bridget Moynahan) has to work twice as long. Terrified at the thought that money troubles will split her parents apart and cost them their home, Ramona hatches an array of hair-brained schemes to get rich quick. Further problems arise when Ramona’s beloved Aunt Bea (Ginnifer Goodwin) is newly smitten with her old boyfriend Howie (Josh Duhamel), who seems intent on starting a new life elsewhere.

Ramona and Beezus offers that rarity in modern cinema: a warm portrait of a loving and defiantly non-dysfunctional family. While undoubtedly episodic and paced perhaps a tad too leisurely for some, the film delivers an hour and forty minutes in the company of decent, likeable people enduring everyday problems with grace and good humour. Between them, filmmaker Elizabeth Allen, whose last work was the fish-out-of-water mermaid comedy Aquamarine (2006), screenwriters Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay, and producer Denise Di Novi (a former Tim Burton collaborator), fashion an easygoing fable that touches on issues like hardship, loss, grownups’ regret over past mistakes and children’s anxieties over finding their place in a seemingly uncertain world. All without recourse to contrived melodrama. As always, sincerity is the key ingredient when family films seek to transcend potential sentimentality. Luckily, the filmmakers tapped a source material packed with sincerity by the bucket load.

Children’s author Beverly Cleary penned Beezus and Ramona in 1955, although the Quimby sisters appeared in her earlier novels about Henry Huggins, who appears as Beezus’ love interest in this movie played by the affable Hutch Dano. Generations of young readers throughout the United States embraced the Ramona books - encompassing Ramona the Pest (1968), Ramona the Brave (1970), Ramona and Her Father (1977), Ramona and Her Mother (1979), Ramona, Age 8 (1981), Ramona Forever (1984), The Ramona Quimby Diary (1984) and Ramona’s World (1999) - as children’s classics and while they remain less well known internationally, some may recall the 1980s television series wherein the young Sarah Polley played Ramona. The film shows similar skill in adapting Cleary’s unfussy, observational style which does not seek to sentimentalise family life, but rather adopts a child’s eye view to draw astute insights into human behaviour, be that adolescent or grownup.

Working midst the warm honeyed tones woven by cinematographer John Bailey, Allen counterbalances the slice of life drama with Ramona’s wild flights of fancy. Scenes such as Ramona’s impromptu leap into outer space or her parachute jump over Portland are artfully rendered with charming storybook styled, stop-motion like special effects that show how a child’s imagination can turn the most mundane activity into something extraordinary.

Although Allen over-eggs a handful of scenes with needless pop tunes, the uniformly endearing supporting cast imbue various comical episodes with zest and pathos. From the cathartic water fight that erupts between the Quimby and Kemp families, to Ramona’s simultaneously heartrending and humorous audition for a television commercial dressed as a princess with a flimsy tiara made of flowers and brambles. Most memorable is the moment the downtrodden Ramona wows classmates by unveiling “the longest picture in the world”, painted by her beloved dad. A gesture that proves more significant than she realises. In such scenes Allen turns an intimate, small scale story into something epic, which if you think about it is exactly how an over-imaginative nine year old would perceive the world.

Cleary’s Ramona Quimby is among the most endearing heroines in children’s literature and newcomer Joey King ably embodies her many dynamic qualities with a star-making, multifaceted performance. Instead of the obnoxious child prankster seen in films like Problem Child (1989) or Home Alone (1990), Ramona is much closer to a silent screen clown and more often than not the butt of some calamitous, socially embarrassing mishap. Yet no matter how many times she gets knocked down, she keeps bouncing back. She is the kind of quirky nonconformist who has trouble fitting in but in whom, as stern seeming schoolteacher Mrs. Meacham (Grey’s Anatomy star Sandra Oh) cannily perceives, resides a spark of brilliance that sets her apart from the crowd. The kind of mind that comes around once in a lifetime.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2329 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: