Making the Grades
Do you have a secret?
Emily Lindstrom (Evan Rachel Wood) believes most people do. Because she possesses a skill for keeping confidences, the enterprising fourteen-year-old develops a thriving business as a secret-keeper. Her clientele consists mostly of neighborhood children, who pay fifty-cents (as well as great adoration) for her professional services.
But having tightly sealed lips is not Emily's only talent. A gifted violinist, the determined girl chooses to practice all summer -- instead of going to camp with her friends -- in order to be ready for a youth symphony audition. There are just a couple of things that may disrupt her quiet plans: The arrival of her forty-something mother's miracle baby that will change her only-child status forever, and the family that moves in next door.
Emily first meets Phillip (Michael Angarano) when the klutzy twelve-year-old tries to bury a broken chess piece. After helping him hide his indiscretion (for her usual fee), the boy seeks her company to stave off the boredom of being new, and having his older brother away at tennis camp. As the two develop a friendship, Phillip's curiosity about Emily's secrets leads him to share a private family matter with her. However, his hasty disclosure has an unexpected impact on the girl.
The weight of this confession is a crushing blow to the normally confident youth who already fears her customers are using her advice to justify dishonest behaviors. Feeling like an accomplice also affects her ability to play the violin, and Emily is forced to re-define what is a secret, what is a lie, and what is the cost of withholding information.
Little Secrets offers a wealth of wisdom on the importance of being truthful. The story is full of great role models and situations real kids could find themselves in (making its message easier for them to relate to). It even presents a case for classical music and learning to play an instrument. When it comes to family films, this may be one of the video store's best-kept secrets.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Little Secrets (2001).
What is the difference between a secret and a lie? What kinds of things should remain confidential? What kinds of things should be confessed? How can you tell which is which?
One of the characters in this movie is corresponding with an unknown person over the Internet. What are some of the dangers of this kind of friendship? For more information on Internet safety, check out www.safekids.com/child_safety.htm