Making the Grades
The Whitney family loves animals, and already has a large collection. So it's no surprise when Harry Whitney (Keith Carradine), who works as a harbour master, finds a seal pup at work, that he decides to bring it home. He's really trying to protect the pup from Billy, the bad guy in town who is convinced the seals are eating all the fish, causing everyone to be out of work and money.
Andre starts his new life in the Whitney's bathtub, but soon graduates to playing basketball, watching TV, and dancing with their daughter, Thalice. The seal starts to attract tourists, which should be a nice second economy for this town, but Bad Billy still hates the seal, and is convinced it eats all the fish like the other seals. Mysteriously, Harry explains that there is some other reason the fish are gone, but the movie forgets to ever tell us what Harry is suspicious of.
There are no sexual situations here, only one token bad word that seems very out of place, and a couple of argumentative scenes, the worst being where a drunken Billy is going to try and kill Andre with a pitchfork. When you watch the movie with your children, ask them if they think a seal could really do these things. Andre is "based on a true story," and even has some old film clips in the credits. Have your children notice the film clips at the end of the movie. Is Andre shown around the house, or in a cage in the water? This will help children recognize that true stories can sometimes be more fiction than fact.
Andre is one of those cute little animal movies that has the lead creature going through one crisis after another. The plot is disjointed, and reason and logic are never close at hand. However, for the youngest children, they probably would enjoy the seal along with the happy compromise ending.