Making the Grades
Despite the number of children’s movies on the market, it isn’t often that one finds a film as endearing and family friendly as Ramona and Beezus. The characters, based on the book series by Beverly Cleary, have been around for nearly 60 years and charmed generations of young readers. Hopefully, this modern day theatrical adaptation will appeal to all those Ramona fans as well as garner new admirers.
Ramona Quimby is played by Joey King, a ten-year-old girl who has already chalked up an impressive acting resume. Selma Gomez, known for her roles in Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place television shows, stars as Beezus.
While Beezus is a beautiful, smart and seemingly confident 15-year-old, Ramona is hopelessly bound to get herself in trouble. Whether on the school playground, in the classroom with her teacher (Sandra Oh) or at home with her sisters, things rarely go right for this imaginative but earnest elementary aged child. But her sincerity is admirable, especially when her father (John Corbett) loses his job. With her mother (Bridget Moynahan) forced to go back to work while their dad looks for new employment, the girls take on more responsibilities around the house. For her part, Ramona determines to earn some extra cash for the family by selling lemonade and washing cars. Though the results of her efforts are less than financially sound, she does manage to help her Aunt Bea (Ginnifer Goodwin) reconnect with her old boyfriend Hobart (Josh Duhamel).
The friendship between Ramona and her favorite aunt is just one of the positive family relationships depicted in this story. Ramona’s father also plays an important and supportive role in his daughters’ lives. Though the Quimbys face some difficult and believable challenges—a job loss, sibling teasing, the death of a pet, and the stress of money issues—the script addresses these trials without becoming overly sappy or offering unrealistic solutions. Even when Ramona packs her suitcase and decides to run away, her parents do what they can to encourage her to come home.
With almost nonexistent content concerns (other than some brief moments of peril), many parents will feel comfortable bringing even their youngest school-aged children. And moms and dads won’t have to worry about enduring another kids’ movie when they sit through this live action motion picture. With a lively storyline and realistic portrayals of home life, even adults will likely find something they can enjoy in this Grade A production.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Ramona and Beezus.
How do Beezus and Ramona react when they overhear their parents’ argument? How can the stress of a job loss (or other major crisis) affect different family members? What can parents do to help their children feel secure during difficult times?
What roles do relatives play in this film? How can aunts, uncles, grandparents or cousins assist a nuclear family? What other kinds of supportive adults can parents find for their children?