Ramona and Beezus (2010) Film Review
One of the sweetest films to come along in a long time, those of you who are fans (or who have young children) of the Beezus & Ramona books will notice changes in this adaptation. But non-readers won’t be able to help but discover this as a wonderful alternative to today’s Hollywood.
Ramona Quimby (Joey King) is an average grade schooler. She’s a cheerful girl who works hard, but because of her imagination, she’s misunderstood. Somehow all her attempts to give a good presentation or try something a little bit daring backfires. Ramona’s sister, Beatrice (Selena Gomez), whom she dubbed “Beezus” as a baby, thinks her sister is a pest. Dad Robert (John Corbett) adores his “lovelies” equally. But Ramona still feels lost.
Mom (Bridget Moynahan) is at her wit’s end: she doesn’t know what to do with Ramona! This is when Aunt Bea (Ginnifer Goodwin) finds Ramona. Thanks to Aunt Bea’s special tough, the two form a bond. Trouble comes when Robert loses his job, and a move looms in their future. Then there’s Aunt Bea, who suddenly rekindles a romance with her high school sweetheart (Josh Duhamel).
Imagination obviously rules the best aspects of this story. And I’ll confess I was apprehensive about how filmmakers would deal with Ramona’s over-active mind. Walden Media (also responsible for ‘Narnia’) does fantasy really well; I’ve not seen one bad production from them, and here they continue that trend. Although it isn’t first-hand knowledge, I’ve read that this screenplay is much altered from the books. Since the material in the books doesn’t affect my perception of the story, I enjoy this fluffy, happy-go-lucky movie – a rare occurrence in Hollywood indeed!
The story takes cues from the economy, something that might be a fault since this is a kid’s story. I find this story deals with these themes very well. Nothing ever gets depressive or “too heavy.” Instead the characters sparkle, and I love their personalities. I do feel disappointment when the film doesn’t build more on the sister’s as one might expect. My impressions were of a movie where the titular characters were going to be basically the only two faces filling the screen and that they’d spend all that screen time together, turns out I was very wrong.
But on a better note, we get to see newcomer Joey King shine. Her Ramona is a great deal of fun. None of the characters disappoint, but Ramona does get into some trouble! This entire cast “feels” right, and will no doubt, impress adults. Everyone makes this fictional family appear real, and I’m hard-pressed to find flaws, even those you might not expect much from. Little details of daily rituals and traits are their crowning achievement, strengthening the cast, and making writers just as vital.
Give copies of this as gifts to any little girls you may need to do some shopping for, buy a copy for yourself (I did!), or do both! You don’t know a good film when you see it if you find fault with this charmer. It is just darling.
(PG CONTENT: Ramona threatens to run away, and there’s some minor issues with Ramona at school. The sisters have a fight or two.)