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"BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE"
(2005) (Annasophia Robb, Jeff Daniels) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
*Mild Minor Moderate *Mild Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Heavy Heavy Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Through the assistance of the stray dog that she's adopted, a 10-year-girl befriends the residents of a small town and helps them and herself work through their various issues.
PLOT:
Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni (ANNASOPHIA ROBB) is in dire need of a friend. She's just moved to the small town of Naomi, Florida with her father (JEFF DANIELS), a Baptist preacher who holds his services in the local convenience store for lack of any proper space. While there are some kids around, they're too young such as Sweetie Pie Thomas (ELLE FANNING), seemingly stuck up like Amanda Wilkinson (COURTNEY JINES) or seem to revel in giving her a hard time like the young Dewberry brothers, Dunlap (NICK PRICE) and Stevie (LUKE BENWARD). With no mother -- she left when the girl was three -- and her dad being unable or unwilling to talk about her, Opal's future seems isolated at best.

Things change, however, when her dad sends her to the local grocery store for a few items. It's there that she witnesses the manager and others trying to corral a dog that's on the loose inside the store. When she hears the manager call for the pound, Opal lies that the dog is hers and - spotting the store's name at the last second -- calls him Winn-Dixie.

Although the manager of the trailer park where they live -- Mr. Alfred (B.J. HOPPER) -- says dogs aren't allowed there, Opal's dad reluctantly agrees to let her keep the dog temporarily until they find its owner. Despite that directive, she and Winn-Dixie soon become fast friends, with Opal discussing all of her feelings to the dog that ends up introducing the girl to some of the town's inhabitants.

They include Otis (DAVE MATTHEWS), a guitar playing drifter who's running the pet store and gives Opal a job in exchange for a dog collar; bookworm Franny Block (EVA MARIE SAINT) who runs the local library and has no family; and Gloria Dump (CICELY TYSON) who the Dewberry boys claim is a witch, but is really a nearly blind recluse and recovering alcoholic.

As she and Winn-Dixie meet and befriend all of them, Opal hopes to learn more about her absent mom, all while helping her dad and the others face and overcome their individual issues and problems.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
A story about a dog and a kid will likely appeal to many younger kids.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For thematic elements and brief mild language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ANNASOPHIA ROBB plays a 10-year-old girl who makes Winn-Dixie her lone friend in a new town. Desirous of learning about her absent mother, she ends up meeting and befriending many people in the town thanks to her dog.
  • JEFF DANIELS plays her single father, a Baptist preacher who talks little about Opal's mother while trying to establish himself in town as the new reverend.
  • CICELY TYSON plays a nearly blind woman and former alcoholic thought to be a witch by the local boys, but who turns out to be a nice lady who befriends Opal.
  • DAVE MATTHEWS plays a former inmate who's now running the local pet store and hires Opal to do odd jobs as payment for a dog collar.
  • EVA MARIE SAINT plays the local librarian who Opal befriends.
  • COURTNEY JINES plays a local girl who initially seems snooty but then becomes friends with Opal and is still dealing with the recent death of her brother.
  • NICK PRICE and LUKE BENWARD play two brothers who initially make fun of Opal and her dog, but eventually become her friends.
  • ELLE FANNING plays a young girl in the town who becomes Opal's friend.
  • B.J. HOPPER plays the owner of the trailer park who demands that Opal and her father get rid of Winn-Dixie, but eventually changes his mind.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG. Profanity consists of a handful of minor expletives, while some colorful phrases are also present. Thematic material includes talk of two characters being alcoholics, one having a jail record, and some oft-repeated segments about a 10-year-old girl not knowing much about her mother who abandoned her at the age of 3. Other tense family material is also present, while several characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    Some slapstick style material is present, some of which involves dogs jumping on or pulling at people's clothes (which may be unsettling for young viewers with fears of dogs). Other moments may also be disturbing and/or suspenseful to younger viewers, while older kids likely won't have any such reaction. A man is briefly seen in his boxers after a dog rips his pants (played for laughs) and another person steps in some dog excrement.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • There's no actual use, but the following related material is present.
  • After Opal notes that many of the bottles hanging in Gloria's yard are of the beer and whiskey variety, Gloria says she's the one who drank what was inside them. She states that she was an alcoholic, but no longer touches the stuff.
  • Opal wonders if her mom had a drinking problem like Gloria, and her dad then confirms just that.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Mr. Alfred steps in some dog excrement that's then stuck on his shoe.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Opal tells a white lie about the dog being hers (to keep it from being sent to the pound).
  • Mr. Alfred initially isn't nice to Opal and her father, particularly in regards to Winn-Dixie.
  • Mr. Alfred states that he once had a noisy dog like Winn-Dixie and then adds that he shot him to keep him quiet.
  • The Dewberry boys make fun of Winn-Dixie and then Opal, calling her "Buloni breath."
  • The Dewberry boys harass Opal again.
  • One of the Dewberry boys refers to Otis as a "retarded criminal."
  • We hear that Otis was in jail for several years after punching a cop (and breaking his nose) for taking away his guitar in a disturbing the peace complaint.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Very young viewers may find all, some or none of the following as unsettling or suspenseful, while older kids likely won't have any such reaction to it.
  • Winn-Dixie hops on a man and knocks him down (which might be unsettling to kids scared of dogs), but does so only to lick his face.
  • Some dogcatchers come and put Winn-Dixie into their truck, prompting Opal to be upset and state that he's her only friend (prompting her dad to change his mind and have the dogcatchers free the pooch).
  • Opal hears Franny shriek in the library. She then finds her cowering and stating "Bear" (but it's just Winn-Dixie's shadow on the window). As Franny then tells her story of once encountering a bear in the library, we see an imagined bit where Opal morphs into a bear that lets out a growl).
  • We see Winn-Dixie with a large mouse in his mouth and it appears to be dead, but he then sets it down and it's fine.
  • Some younger viewers might be concerned when the Dewberry boys warn Opal not to follow Winn-Dixie onto a witch's property. She slowly and anxiously does, spotting a figure behind some sheets on the line. When confronted by the woman and ending up on the ground with her, she's scared and pleads not to be eaten, but it turns out to be Gloria.
  • There are some bright flashes of lightning and loud booms of thunder during a thunderstorm at night (that spooks Winn-Dixie and makes the dog go crazy inside the trailer).
  • Gloria states that the many bottles hanging in her backyard are to keep the ghosts away (which might scare younger viewers), but then explains that the ghosts are just the bad things in her life.
  • A thunderstorm suddenly breaks out at night and Winn-Dixie races off into the darkness. When Opal realizes that's what happened, she panics and tries to find him. When she, her dad and others can't find the pooch, younger viewers may worry about him (he does show up later).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Mr. Alfred states that he once had a noisy dog like Winn-Dixie and then adds that he shot him to keep him quiet (not seen).
  • The local sheriff wears a handgun, while Otis briefly handles a large hunting knife in the pet store.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "What in the Sam Hill is going on?" "I'll be damned," "Idiot," "Shut up, idiot" (said by a parrot), "Far out," "Get lost you bald-headed babies," "Buloni breath," "Skinny armed chickens," "Lunch meat," "Aren't you a big, steaming pile of pancakes," "Someone better shut your gob-hole," "Freaks," "Retarded," "Booger eaters," "Dang," "War is hell" and "What in the name of corn on the cob is going on here?"
  • The Dewberry kids elbow each other and one blows a raspberry at Opal.
  • One of the Dewberry boys refers to Otis as a "retarded criminal."
  • Winn-Dixie belches several times after eating too much candy (played for laughs).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 3 hells, 1 damn, 2 uses of "God" and 1 use each of "God-blessed," "Lord" and "Oh Lord."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • The local sheriff runs into his own car door, and Winn-Dixie then rips at his pants, eventually leaving him standing there in his boxers (played for laughs).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Opal states that she misses her mom and would like to see her again.
  • Opal states that her mom left when Opal was just three-years-old and that she barely remembers her. She also states that her father doesn't like to talk about her mother.
  • Opal tells Gloria that she doesn't know why her mom left.
  • Opal is still curious about her absent mom, but her dad still won't talk about her. She eventually gets him to say nine things about Opal's mom. He then concludes by saying that she packed her bags and left the two of them, never to return.
  • Opal has some brief flashback memories or fantasy moments about her mom based on what her dad has just told her about the woman.
  • We hear that Amanda's brother drowned last year (Amanda rushes off when she seems about to talk about that).
  • Opal sees her dad staring at his wedding photos (in a melancholy fashion).
  • Opal wonders if her mom became an alcoholic because of her (and her dad says no).
  • Opal confronts her dad, stating that all he does is give up on things in life and that he didn't try to keep her mom from leaving. He then states that he failed her (his wife) and that it's his fault she left. Opal then asks if her mother will ever come back and he says no.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Feeling alone.
  • Moving to a new place where you have no friends.
  • Losing a parent (here, through abandonment).
  • Alcoholism.
  • Opal states that her mom left when Opal was just three-years-old and that she barely remembers her. She also states that her father doesn't like to talk about her mother.
  • Gloria is partially blind.
  • Opal's dad briefly talks about pathological fear (regarding Winn-Dixie being scared of thunderstorms).
  • One of the Dewberry boys refers to Otis as a "retarded criminal."
  • We hear that Amanda's brother drowned last year (Amanda rushes off when she seems about to talk about that).
  • The comment that when the local candy factory closed down, people lost their jobs as well as each other.
  • We hear that Otis was in jail for several years after punching a cop (and breaking his nose) for taking away his guitar in a disturbing the peace complaint.
  • Opal's dad tells her that she's too young to understand some things.
  • Opal wonders if her mom became an alcoholic because of her (and her dad says no).
  • VIOLENCE
  • The Dewberry kids elbow each other (in a rambunctious manner).
  • A grocery store worker accidentally knocks down a customer while chasing the dog through the store. Other workers slip or trip during the pursuit.
  • Mr. Alfred slips and falls on some wet ground (in a slapstick fashion).
  • We see an imagined flashback of Franny throwing a heavy novel at a bear that's in her library.
  • As various animals go crazy in the pet store, Otis twice hits his head on something hanging from the ceiling as he tries to control them.
  • A goat repeatedly head-butts the local sheriff's car, while a goose repeatedly bites at his clothed body.
  • The local sheriff runs into his own car door, and Winn-Dixie then rips at his pants, eventually leaving him standing there in his boxers (played for laughs).



  • Reviewed February 12, 2005 / Posted February 18, 2005

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