Pollyanna Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
It seems no one wants to be called a “Pollyanna.” But I have to wonder why. It isn’t always easy to find something to be glad about, but Pollyanna Whittier (Hayley Mills) has a gift for it despite the fact her life hasn’t been easy. If you watch the film closely, Pollyanna isn’t a naïve optimist who refuses to see anything bad. She sees it. She just chooses to find something positive to focus on.
After losing her parents, the orphaned girl moves in with her rich aunt (Jane Wyman) who hasn’t got a clue how to give love—to anyone. Rather than opening her heart, Polly Harrington rules over a town named for her family with a stern hand. Even the preacher comes to Polly (rather than a higher power) to get direction for his Sunday sermons. As a result, the Sabbath services are inclined to give people "sour stomachs" rather than spiritual enlightenment.
Yet despite her aunt’s austere nature, Pollyanna still manages to find things to appreciate about her new home. Sent on charitable errands by her aunt (which she considers an obligation because of her wealth), the young girl worms her way into the hearts of the townsfolk including the housemaid Nancy (Nancy Olson), a grumbling hermit, Mr. Pendergast (Adolphe Menjou), a cantankerous hypochondriac, Mrs. Snow (Agnus Moorehead) and a fellow orphan Jimmy Bean (Kevin Corcoran).
After the town’s orphanage falls into disrepair, the mayor (Donald Crisp) calls on the local citizens to construct a new facility. Polly, however, isn’t about to let them tear down the outdated building known as Harrington House. With grim resolve, she determines to do her civic duty and make repairs. However, Mayor Warren wants more than mere fix-ups and marshals the citizens into organizing a fundraising bazaar.
When Aunt Polly forbids Pollyanna to go, the girl’s young friend Jimmy begs her to climb out her bedroom window and down a tree. But getting back inside at the end of the evening results in a serious fall and injury for the girl. With a bleak future before her, can even the normally positive Pollyanna find something to be happy about?
With very little content for family viewers to worry about, Pollyanna proves to be a delightfully charming tale of the power of being positive.Directed by David Swift. Starring Jane Wyman, Hayley Mills, Richard Egan. Running time: 134 minutes. Theatrical release May 19, 1960. Updated July 15, 2011
Rating & Content Info
Why is Pollyanna rated Not Rated? Pollyanna is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: A character talks about the death of her parents. A man is injured when a building’s pipes burst. A man yells at children. A girl sneaks out against her aunt’s wishes. Later she falls from a tree and is injured. A woman frequently talks about death. An adult asks a child to lie to another adult.
Sexual Content: A brief shot of a bare bummed boy jumping into a river is seen. An adult couple kisses. A girl is seen in her underwear.
Language: The script contains some terms of Deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A woman complains about a men’s smoking. Brief depictions are shown in a social setting.
Page last updated July 15, 2011
Pollyanna Parents' Guide
What is false charity? Why does Aunt Polly consider generosity to be a responsibility? How does Pollyanna feel about her visits around town?
Is it easier to have a negative or positive outlook? How does Pollyanna’s treatment of others alter the way they feel about themselves?
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This was one of Hayley Mills’ first roles with the Disney studio. She won a Juvenile Award at the 1961 Academy Awards for her portrayal of Pollyanna. (Mills made a total of six films with Disney including The Parent Trap, In Search of the Castaways, Summer Magic, The Moon-Spinners and That Darn Cat.)