Graphic Novels

A Graphic Novel Review of Dogman

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Type: Graphic Novel, Superhero

Basic Plot: After a bombing incident, a super policeman with the head of a dog and the body of a man is created. The new “Dogman” must save the city from several different evil schemers, despite the protestations from the author’s teachers.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The stories ranged from cute and humorous to simple and predictable. The later stories were better than the earlier ones, as they had a bit more creativity to them, but unfortunately about half of the humor was disgustingly juvenile potty humor.

The characters are probably the best part of the book. Dog-man, the chief, and Petey the cat are all slightly cliché characters, but are all fun for children of the age group the book is aimed at.

Graphics: 2/5 OK: The graphics were probably the most disappointing of the series. Some may argue that they were intentionally made poor as the boys in the series writing the book are grade school children. This is a fair argument, and one nice feature that can be seen is the changing quality of the comics as the age of the author’s changes. This could also be looked at as a downer though, as this makes the graphics occasionally a bit unpleasant.

Moral: 1½/5 A Hard to Read Moral: There isn’t any real moral that is easy to see. There is the moral, possibly that good always triumphs over evil, as Dogman consistently defeats his enemies and sends them to prison. Unfortunately there are a few negative tones, as the two boys in the book that are writing the Dogman story tend to be rebellious to school rules. They disregard their teacher’s wants and are a little disrespectful in the way they treat their teachers. There is nothing wrong with being creative and having fun, but the attitude of disregard for what authority wants cannot be good.

Overall: 2½/5 Below Average: Because of a lack of moral and the quality of the art, below average is about where I would rank it. It would make a good book to read just for pure relaxation and shallow entertainment. I believe boys from age’s six to ten would like it best.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Some Inappropriate Content: There is a sketch drawing of someone’s butt. A cat pulls down multiple people’s pants and skirts, though their underwear is still on. A man once sits in his office in his underwear. A man is shown “scoot[ing his] butt on the carpet with joy” and says you will too. Characters watch a video of Dogman pooping, though only Dogman’s upper body is seen. There is a brief appearance of some shirtless men at the beach. Captain Underpants is mentioned.

There are several accounts of crude and potty humor, such as one appearance of poop, two of pee, and one of bird droppings, including a man holding poop and giving a high five while holding, spreading it throughout the air. When the whole world is turned “stupid,” a newsman says “Our top story: Me go boom boom in my panties.”

Violence: 2/5 Some Light Violenc: There are explosions of buildings, a car, and a robot, and a dog and man set off a bomb. A cat tries to crush dogs with a falling, spiked ceiling, but fails. A dog throws a bone at someone’s head five times. A man is briefly seen hitting himself with hammer. A character slaps himself in exasperation. Dogman happily jumps on a man several times, and once the man happily jumps on him. A cat gets whacked in the butt and head by various playground equipment, like “The Swing Set Smacker,” “The Seesaw Smoosher,” and “Spring Break.” A man trips over a dog. Sentiment hotdogs get eaten, and a living balloon pops. Characters fly through the roof twice. There is a store that sells bombs. “Kung fu,” “kickin’,” and “can’t punch” are used to describe the features of a man and his dog. A schools motto is “We put the ‘ow’ in knowledge.” “War” is used for descriptive purposes. One face in the “How to Draw” section is a character’s “Ouch!” face.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Slight Misuse: “Gee” and “geez” are each misused once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slight Disturbing Content: When a man and his dog are near death and covered in bandages, their heads are switched, creating Dogman, though this is not shown. The stitches are seen on Dogman throughout the book. Dogman once tries to bite a cat, but fails. Characters cry a couple of times. Some living hotdogs light fires that they once call “raging infernos of death” and threaten to destroy the town, but the fires are tiny and their threats completely disregarded. A character burns his hands a little when he tries to catch something on fire. Some kids are shown in three panels running from various bad guys, one trying to “zap” them.

Religious Issues: ½/5 A man thinks that an invisible character is a ghost, and one claims that some stores are haunted, though this is not true.

Magic: 1/5 Some Possible Magic: A character uses invisible spray and living spray, the latter to make things come to life. Whether this is magic or not is debatable.

Others: Off panel, a character gives another one a cigar. A cat is once shown with tattoos on its arms. One chapter is called “The Franks Awaken,” probably based off “The Force Awakens” from Star Wars, though there is no other connection. A note to some children’s parents says that they should use medical drugs to get their children to behave, though it is likely that this doesn’t happen. One character says once “Get ready to roomba! (rumba)” A “stupid” person calls a male cat a “lady.”

Overall: 1½/5 Almost All Ages Appropriate:  The nudity and potty humor are probably the most controversial things. Morally, it’s a bit difficult to pin. If one is against humor that is on the crude side, I would say to completely skip this book. If a person doesn’t mind jokes about such things, I would recommend the book for children six and older.

Advertisements
Movies

A Movie Review of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Directors)

Type: Cartoon

Basic Plot: Flint Lockwood has always been known as nothing more than a nerdy loser. After years of failure, he finally invents a machine that can make it rain food and hopes to finally make everyone he knows proud of him.

Quality

Plot: 2/5 Below Average: One word comes to my mind whenever I think of this movie’s plot. It is the word cliché. Cliché features are all throughout the plot and characters. The cast includes a misunderstood child, a dead mom, an awkward dad, an evil shoulder devil role model, a guy who thinks he has it all, and a love interest that is understands him and is “different.” Speeches and the story are things that are commonly seen in children’s movies.

Graphics: 3/5 Average: The graphics were plain, having some nice details here and there in the hair, light, and clouds. It leaned more to a cartoon style than a realistic one, as people had completely unrealistic body proportions.

Moral: 2½/5 Good and Bad Morals: The moral had a very “Curious, Curious George” feel, (see Dangerous Ideas above), but I think it had some deeper positive moral aspects as well. The CCG feel came in from the main plot story. The protagonist feels like a failure, no one understands him, he messes up, becomes a success, messes up again, and then fixes everything. This is a common plot theme in children’s movies that seems to show that you can mess things up, but once you fix it, you become a hero by stopping the problem that you caused. It’s like hiring a bunch of bank robbers than stopping them. I understand redemption and changes of heart, but I also think that there is a difference between redemption and avoiding consequences.

Positive moral aspects included understanding, as Flint and his dad slowly learn to understand each other more. There was also the positive moral that we should be careful who we listen too. Flint has two people influencing his life, his dad and the mayor. One says he should do the right thing, even if Flint must sacrifice his fame, and the other tells Flint to do what may be wrong because it will make Flint feel more loved and accepted. Flint chooses the wrong influence and pays (sort of) and fixes the problem. We can see that it is important to follow those that truly care about us and tell us to do what’s right rather than to do listen to people who only say what we want to hear.

Overall: 2½/5 Below Average: Overall, the movie can be concluded with the word cliché. The children’s book is a thousand times better than the movie. The moral is ok, but nothing to jump up and down about.

Moral Content

Official Rating: PG

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Some Inappropriate Content: Flint makes statues of David and ML out of Jell-O, one of them showing the woman shirtless, and the other not really showing any nudity, but possibly doing so indirectly. There are pictures of shirtless men wearing bibs in the background once. There is a close-up of a man clenching his butt. A man several times in the movie wears nothing but a diaper, but he eventually stops that by the end. A man is shown in a bathtub, though no nudity is shown. Two modestly dressed women hang on a famous man. Flint and a girl kiss once, and attempt to kiss a few times.

Violence: 2/5 Brief Light Cartoon Violence: There are several explosions and crashes throughout the movie in cartoon style, as well as people bumping into each other. A banana falls on painting of a woman. A man violently throws snowballs at various people. A monkey decapitates gummy bears and rips out one bear’s heart. A man beats up food that attacks him with punches and kicks. A man gets hit in the eye with both a foot and food, at different times. A man says he will slap a man and then he does. A man tackles people several times throughout the movie. Food attacks people. A man’s mustache is ripped off by a monkey, and the monkey reaches for several people’s mustaches, though he fails to rip them off.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Slight Misuse: “Gosh” is used at least twice, and “geez” is used at least once.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1½/5 Light Disturbing Content: A man is eaten whole by a roast chicken, but he doesn’t die and ends up killing the chicken. A boy ends up in “a food coma” from eating too much candy, and mentions that his “tummy hurts.” Flint’s mom is mentioned to have died in the past. A girl swells up after being pricked by peanut brittle. A man gets shocked by electricity. A man asks if snowball fights are “to the death.” A man punches into his hand when he is angry. Characters run and scream from giant food. Mutant ratbirds attack people and carry off a child. The child is told to “play dead.”

Religious Issues: ½/5 Brief Appearance: Men are seen wearing clothing from the Jewish and Muslim cultures.

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: There is a poster with an electric guitar. People are shown drinking wine in a restaurant. The credits contain rock music.

Overall: Overall, the brief naked statue appearances were probably the worst thing in the movie and possibly some of the light violence. If one wanted to watch it, I would recommend eight and older.

Books

A Book Review of The Hired Girl

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

Type: Historical Fiction

Basic Plot: Joan Skraggs has no more of a future than one of the chickens on her farm. Tired of being either ignored or hated by her family, she runs away to Baltimore to become a hired girl for a Jewish family.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The story is a story of hope and hard work, but can also be seen having some of the more dependent pictures of humanity. Joan Skraggs runs away from an abusive home to work for herself, but she constantly gets herself in bad situations. They are interesting, but this is the main drive of the book, making the book occasionally repetitive in its content, though usually interesting to read. Joan’s Catholic religion, her employer’s Jewish rituals and lifestyle, and the life in the early 1900’s add the details to the plot that make the partially repetitive plot fascinating to read.

As for characters, the protagonist is as spirited, dreamy, and impetuous as Anne from Anne of Green Gables with a life that is just as, if not a little more, exciting and passionate. The other characters are also flavorful and animated, even the ones with supposedly “dull” personalities. Most of the main characters are memorable, especially the members of the Jewish family. There are a few genuinely dull, cliché characters, but they are brief, existing for no more than three or four entries.

Writing Style and Setup: 3½/5Above Average: The style is pretty to read, partly because it is in the first person. Joan is honest and natural, writing what she sees and from the way she sees it, which his sometimes more than a little childish. Almost everything the author wrote, the reader could tell was written on purpose and with purpose. Very little had any of the “filler” feeling that sometimes books have.

Moral: 2/5 Good and Bad Morals: Joan tends to be an impetuous girl, which gets her in trouble. She spends a lot of time crying because she makes foolish decisions about how much she involves herself in others affairs as well as how she reacts to things. Unfortunately, one can feel traces of “Curious, Curious George” as they read this book, though it is not taken to an extreme level. Though Joan gets in trouble, things usually work out on their own or from some outside help. The only major consequence she has is that she tends to cry a lot from looking like a fool and often sinks in certain people’s opinions. This is mercy at its finest, though real life is often much crueler.

The better, though less shown moral, is the moral of humbleness. Joan often has to apologize for her mistakes and admit her faults. She often thinks how much prouder people in books are as opposed to people in real life and by the end of the book concludes that it is better to be humble.

Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: The book has a quality of fineness and pleasantness. Some may see the plot as a bit repetitive and the overall moral not that substantial, which would be true.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 3½/5 Suggestive Content: A man hugs and kisses Joan and touches “the front of [her] dress,” all against her will. It is vaguely suggested that she may have kicked him somewhere “higher up” than when she kicked him in the shin, and it is said that she used to kick her brother there. After this, Joan worries that all of the men in the city are like that. Unmarried characters kiss at least five times. Joan hugs, is held by, and holds hands with a boy she is not married to. Joan thinks that doing certain “things” that “married couples” do “wouldn’t be so bad” as long as she is doing it with the boy mentioned above. They never do anything like that together. She offers herself to him; he refuses. When the family finds them talking, they believe they have caught them in “a vulgar intrigue” and stare at the man’s bed, though nothing like that was going on. Joan then thinks how she had been warned to guard her purity and reputation. Characters get embarrassed at least twice when other characters see them in their pajamas. Joan brings up sheets when talking to a man and then wonders to herself if the subject was inappropriate and blushes. He offers no signs that it was. There are vague, brief references to Joan getting her cycle. Joan walks in on her father changing, though nothing inappropriate is shown. She is relieved at a different part of the book when she walks in on a man and he isn’t changing. Characters watch an opera that has a man and woman that are living together outside of marriage, and the woman is a prostitute, though she is never directly called so by name. Joan reads a book that mentions such a woman like that. Joan looks at scantily clad pieces of art with a male friend and feels embarrassed, though the statues are not described. At the end of the book, it shows complete pictures of certain works of art, one containing naked, male cherubs in the background that showed everything except for the front of the statue. Some ladies believe that a certain boy will “lose whatever morals he had” when he goes to Paris.

Violence: 2/5 Some Light Violence: Joan slaps a cow. It crushes her foot and knees her in the face. It is mentioned that in a certain book a man slaps his daughter. Joan’s brothers are mentioned to have been whipped as children at home and school, though Joan never was. Her father says that he wishes he would’ve, although he promised her mother he wouldn’t. A girl says that her father never slapped or spanked her. Joan kicks a man twice. Cats bites and/or scratches Joan in at least three entries. A man violently charges at Joan, though he misses. Joan tells him that he had better not hit her; he doesn’t. Joan thinks about her mother painfully pulling dirt out from under Joan’s fingernails. A family believes that Joan was being physically abused at her old home, though she wasn’t. An old woman slaps Joan and cuffs a boy. Joan thinks several times that a person will slap or shake her or someone else, though it never happens. Joan swings a poker at a boy and misses. A boy attacks a suitcase and tears it up while pretending to kill animals. He later pretends to kill other animals, though without attacking the suitcase. Joan’s foot hurts after kicking someone. An old woman’s finger nails hurt Joan once when they grasp her.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Light Swearing: God’s name is taken in vain in German once, and possibly once or twice in English. “Hell” is misused twice, and “jackass” is once used in anger. One man apologizes for misusing “hell.” Joan says that it is fine, as she probably would have done the same. A few times there are mentions of characters swearing and taking God’s name in vain, but rarely does it say what they said, suggesting once or twice that a man misused “hell.” Joan mentions that a nickname for Damaris would be swearing.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 There are several descriptions that use things like, death, diseases, injuries, violence, cannibalism, and other “disturbing” descriptions throughout the book. Death and violent threats are used for exaggerations throughout the book, and a boy once makes a joke about “dead artist.” In a bad mood, a woman once says that it would be better for others if she were dead. A Shakespeare quote mentions that people do not die and eaten by worms from lost love. Joan cries a lot throughout the book, usually from embarrassment, though sometimes from emotional circumstances. She mentions a girl in another book that cries a lot. A man tells Joan about Catholic persecution of Jewish people, ranging from spitting to rock throwing to massacres of people of all ages, though there is little gory detail. It is mentioned that a woman’s grandfather “was beaten to death with a shovel.” Joan mentions being scared as a child after hearing how a boy lost his finger. It is mentioned that the Romans killed Jesus, and a man mentions he thought the Jewish people had. It mentions that some Jewish people wanted to kill Paul, though other probably hadn’t. An old woman scrams a few times in the book. There is mention of Joan of Arc fighting in a war. Joan bleeds and worries about losing an eye and blindness when she gets kneed in the face by a cow. Joan briefly thinks about suicide, but decides she could never do it because she likes to be alive. It is mentioned that girls had to jump from a burning building. A woman believes that her cat has died, though it hasn’t. In an opera, a woman dies of in her love’s arms of consumption. There is mention of men who died from mining accidents. There is much talk of characters that have already died, though mostly Joan’s mother, and Joan describes her mother’s death. Joan believes she died from overwork, as her Mother just collapsed in the fields, and Joan thinks about how she will probably die the same way. Her mother’s funeral is briefly mentioned. A woman tells Joan that her baby almost died from croup and describes how she stayed awake all night caring for her. It also mentions that a little boy was sick and threw up. It is mentioned that a bird was thought dead in a story, but he wasn’t, he was merely injured. Joan tells a boy in a game they are playing that they will die if he doesn’t get them food. A boy mentions that he broke his nose when he was a child. Joan tells a boy a story about a snake that eats children and is killed by a boy, though no details are given. A man is mentioned to have shot cats. A girl says that a baby cat left in a tree will “starve to death,” and Joan does not want to let a cat by out as she worries about it being killed by cars or children. A woman likes to talk about people dying from diseases, though it never goes into detail on what she says except that the deaths were long. Some ladies say that a cat will suffocate a baby, though the cat never does. A boy asks why on the crucifix Jesus is bleeding. Joan wishes she would faint. One of the ways Joan wishes she could thank a man include “saving him from a burning building,” though he is never in such a position. Joan kills a chicken, though it is not described. Joan once wants to hit a boy. Characters ask Joan a few times if she is or was hurt, and she usually is. Blood is mentioned to be on people and clothing, once Joan being temporarily blinded by the amount of blood over her eye. Joan’s hair and bed catch on fire. Joan’s hairpins hurt in the rain. Joan gets cramps and stomach pain from running, her corset, and her cycle. Joan writes to be careful making jam to avoid getting burned. She also gets blisters, burns, bruises, a scab, scratches, stitches, and a swelled face and eye. Her feet sometimes hurt from work or use them. Other characters are mentioned to have gotten stitches, headaches, bunion pain, and burned. A man is mentioned to have once “almost lost an eye” in a canning accident.

Religious Issues: 3/5 Suggestive Content: Joan is Catholic and is shown to deeply believe Catholicism, calling it the “True Faith” throughout her diary. She goes to the Catholic church as a teenager and child, goes Catholic instructions, prays the rosary and Hail Marys, and often has discussions in her prayers with Mary that include Mary answering her back in how most Christians would look at God answering, though she does admit that she isn’t really sure if Mary answers her. She also once goes to the “Lady Chapel.” Joan thinks about the Eucharist a few times, though it is not ever called that, and wishes she could take it. By the end of the book, she has. She is a very devoted worshipper of Mary, offering her flowers on one of Mary’s supposed Holy Days and planning to write a poem in her honor. She also shows interest in the Litany of the Virgin and in Mary’s Catholic titles and names, though the actual litany, titles, and names are never shown. A priest gives a girl a missal. Characters are called “Father” and “daughter” for religious purposes. Incense, the Pearl of Great Price, statues and Catholic references to saints and Mary, Mass, crucifixes, genuflecting, Purgatory, priests, books with the IMPRIMATUR seal of the Catholic Church, mentions of Catholic prayers, the rosary, certain Holy Days of Obligation, and missals are all mentioned. Joan asks a priest about a line in a supposedly infallible Catholic prayer that says Jesus is “offend[ed]” when we “find pleasure to our liking.” The priest doesn’t believe it literally word-for-word, though he says it is still an infallible prayer. A priest and Joan both believe that they can “feel the mind and heart of God.” A priest asks Joan if she wants to become a nun; she refuses. Joan thinks that only saints can “go straight to heaven” on death. Joan goes through an experience where she can no longer feel God. She says that this “absence” and “darkness was God.” Joan mentions that she was confirmed.

A man tells Joan a story to get her to believe that it doesn’t matter what religion you believe because no one can know which one is real and that it doesn’t really matter. Joan accepts this at least to a degree. She is also reprimanded for telling a little boy about Jesus and later believes that what she did was wrong. A man “decides that religion is hogwash” after some bad experiences financially. Jewish customs are mentioned and sometimes described, such as kosher, certain holidays, and the Sabbath traditions. There is mention of the Talmud. A sentence from a Jewish prayer is said. It is mentioned that Jewish people believe that if they are good enough God will write their name in the book of life on Rosh Hashanah. Joan believes that God loves a certain family because they are “virtuous.” A boy jokes with Joan by telling her a story about ghosts, one a Moorish girl wishing she could be baptized. The boy mentions the Eve of St. John and that he was at a cathedral. Joan jokes back by asking him about other ghosts. Muslims are briefly mentioned a few times, but as “Mahometans,” a common term for them in the early 1900’s. Mohammed (as Mohomet) riding on a peacock is briefly referred to once. There is mention of people being or having been Presbyterian and Methodist. There is mention of cathedrals, a rectory, and a parishoner. There is mention of the Orthodox religion, and how they view where the Holy Ghost comes from as oppose to where the Catholics believes it comes from. The Quaker religion is mentioned. There is mention of false gods and goddesses- often by name-, Medusa, and cupids, some of these being used in art. It is mentioned that Jezebel, in the Bible, “encouraged her husband to worship false gods.” Joan worries that certain things are blasphemy, such as certain Jewish rituals or mentally criticizing an idol of Mary, though they are not. A boy once says “When I’m painting, my religion is painting!” because he is angry. One section is called “A Warrior Goddess of Wisdom” and shows a picture of a false goddess. “Demon,” “ghost,” “haunted,” and “sphinx-like” are used for descriptive purposes, as well as false roman gods. Joan thinks about men and women worshipping each other in relationships and decides that it is better for men to worship woman rather than the other way around. She also uses “worships the ground he walks on” to describe how an old man treats a certain man. A park is named “Druid Hill Park.”

Magic: 1/5 Brief Mention: The fairy tale “Thumbelina” is told, though there are no references to fairies in it. The Wizard of Oz is mentioned. Fairies and nymphs are used for art and decoration. Joan thinks something is a good omen once. “Cinderella,” “changeling,” “bewitch,” “fairyland,” “faery,” “fury,” “goblin-ish,” “magic,” “gazing through a magic casement” “nymph,” “spell,” “sylph,” and “witch” are used in various forms for descriptive purposes. No magic is done in the book.

Others: Joan wants to see a ballet. A man asks his son if he is a socialist, though it never says if he is or not. Two men drink whiskey. People drink wine, and in a Jewish tradition, a whole family- including the children- everyone drinks a little wine. A man is served beer, and it is mentioned that he likes beer. Characters mention that they will be or want to go to or be taken to balls and dances. Whiskey glasses are used for an art lesson. “Champagne,” “ballet dancer,” “dance,” “drunk,” “drunkards,” “gambled,” and “wine” are all used for descriptive purposes.

Overall: 3½/5 Teenage Appropriate: The most problematic things in this book, in my opinion are the religious issues. Most of the sexual content is not very descriptive, especially when compared to most modern teen books. Swearing is also low. Violence and disturbing content is also low in description. Overall, though there was a long list of a bunch of little things, morally the book is acceptable except possibly in some of the religious content, as Joan being a very serious worshipper of Mary. I believe if a person did read it, they should clearly understand why all religions are not the same and why it is ok to politely spread the gospel, even if others don’t always want to hear it. These things should be clearly explained and understood before reading. If that is understood and accepted, I believe fifteen to sixteen would be the best age to read it.

Movies

A Movie Review of Emma

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

Emma (1996) by Douglas McGrath (Director)

Type: Classic, Historical Fiction

Basic Plot: Emma Woodhouse is a cheerful young woman that has the bad habit of meddling. By determining to match off her friends, all she does is cause complications, anger, and sorrow, not noticing her own romantic chance until it may be too late.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: For a movie, this Jane Austen story was pretty well done. It was a story that a person could relate to emotionally and socially, and scattered with wit and sarcasm in the dialogue and events. The exact dialogue was not written, though occasionally accurate, but the characters natures were definitely caught.

Acting: 4½/5 Amazing: Gestures, tones, and facial expressions were all well done. There were no hints of “actor’s voice,” except maybe a little bit in Emma’s father, but a majority of the time it was purely as natural as real life. The characters were beautifully portrayed. Emma was cheerful and a bit spoiled. Harriet was sweet and meek. Mr. Knightly was mature without being old. Several other characters followed this line.

Costumes and Scenery: 3½/5 Above Average: Costumes were period appropriate, realistic, and beautiful. The temperance of looking rich and beautiful while not looking silly and elaborate was made. Costumes were often plain, but they were not plain to the point of being an eyesore or unpleasant.

The scenery was befitting a rich man’s home and lands. In a similar nature to the costumes, it was period appropriate, realistic, and not too elaborate. The lifestyle of the characters was of one that could be expected by a viewer, beautiful but not fantasy-like.

Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: The main moral that can be seen in the story of Emma is to not meddle. Emma believes that she knows best concerning who should marry whom. Her matches result in sorrow and anger, and it is eventually revealed that even her inward speculations about who loved whom were completely wrong. God says in 1 Peter 4:15 “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or [as] a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” We are not to be gossips or snoops, as it causes divisions and stress.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: For the time the movie was made, I would say it was done pretty well. It was not too plain, even though it was not extravagant. Though every detail was not exactly like the books, the spirit was caught and maintained, making it an enjoyable movie. Girls and women twelve to thirteen and older would probably like it best.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Some Suggestive Content: Most dresses in the series are low, and once a lady bends over at least twice briefly, revealing much, though not all, cleavage. One dress is raised slightly and light in color, making the shadow of the women’s body briefly seeable during a certain event. Men kiss or lean in to ladies hands. A man and woman kiss a few times on the lips. Friends air kiss a few times. A man and woman hold hands. A man tells a girl that he believes their acquaintance is being pursued by a married man. She is not.

Violence: 1/5 Some Light Violence: Some people shove a lady onto the ground and grab at her in an attempt to steal her purse. They fail. It is mentioned in conversation that a man has cut his finger. A woman scares some dogs when she shoots an arrow near them, and her friend makes a joke about it.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Some Swearing: God’s name is taken in vain twice. “Damn” is misused twice.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: ½/5 Light Emotional Content: Women cry a few times over relationship complications, though not intensely. A man is obsessed with people getting sick or carrying illnesses and talks about his worries almost every time he speaks. A woman that is appears in the movie gets sick and dies. Some girls visit and tend to a woman that appears sick. There is brief talk of sick people. Death is mentioned in a song. “Death” is used for descriptive purposes,

Religious Issues: ½/5 A man is a vicar.

Magic: ½/5 “Fairyland” is used for descriptive purposes. No magic is done in the movie.

Others: Characters dance and talk of dancing. A woman accuses a man of mistaking her for another lady and that he is under the influence of wine, though he is probably not drunk and the word “drunk” is never used. A woman asks a man if he wants some whisky, which he refuses.

Overall: 2½/5 Almost Child Appropriate: I recommend the movie for children at least twelve or thirteen and older, mainly because of the swearing and suggestive content.

Books

A Book Review of The Recking

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Reckoning by Beverly Lewis

Type: Amish, Christian Fiction, Contemporary

Basic Plot: Katherine has finally sorted out her life to be what she has always dreamed, rich and fancy, but as things from her Amish past keep coming back to haunt her, she wonders if her “real life” is really with the English.

Quality

Plot: 2½/5 Below Average: The first two books in the series were made interesting mostly by their interesting plot. Though the style was weak in some ways, the story was interesting and unique. The plot in this book is more cliché and dull than the first two. Katherine’s life has become more romance focused. A romance focused plot does not have to be boring, but there was little beauty or deepness that makes certain romance classics and novels worth reading. The only interesting parts were the ones concerning character’s salvation, and even those were not as expounded on as some of the less interesting parts. Also, some of the characters actions were not really “in character.” Though the author would know them best, some of the attempts at having a happier ending seemed to make the characters do things that one may wonder if they would actually do, such as the lifting of the shunning from Katherine.

Writing Style and Setup: 2½/5 Below Average: The setup and style in this book was sloppier than the others. Though jumping among several characters in a chapter can be done smoothly, Ms. Lewis was a lot less smooth in this book. It was choppy feeling. Details on certain events were greatly left out as well; having some time skips over parts that may be considered important or interesting.

Moral: 2/5 A Good, But Weak Moral: The moral of the series was that we should be happy with the life and plan God has given us and to be content with it. This is true in several ways, as the Bible says in I Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out.And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”  The other moral was that salvation was by grace and faith, not works. It is a gift, not a reward. Both of these morals are good, but they were not as expounded on as they probably should have been. The latter was expounded on more, but because the focus was more on Katherine’s new life, it was not expounded on as it could have been. The contentment moral was good, though I do not know if I agree with all of the details. The author almost made it seem like having extravagant things was discontentment, which is not true. It is not a sin to be a rich Christian, it is merely sinful to lust after and misuse the riches rather than to invest them in God. Perhaps that was what she was trying to say, I just did not get that as much as she might have meant it.

Overall: 2½/5 Below Average: Out of all of the books in this series, this one was the worst. It felt like the author had speed written it in an attempt to get the next book out. It was sloppy in comparison to the other ones; therefore, concerning quality, it is not as recommended as the first two. The focus of the story has changed, going from a focus on Katie’s life and religious freedom to a focus on the dull romantic life of her and her friend’s.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Romance and Some Suggestive Content: A woman goes on a trip with a man she is not married to, and she briefly worries a little that they will share a room until he tells her that they won’t be. Unmarried and married characters kiss, hug, hold hands, and other affectionate touching, though no where that would commonly be considered inappropriate. The kisses themselves are not detailed, but it is said where the people are kissed, such as the mouth and chin. It briefly mentions that a girl is “flustered” after running into a boy. It is mentioned that a mother nurses her child.

Violence: ½/5 Slight Violence: A woman remembers a snowball fight she had as a child. A girl runs into a boy.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content:  1½/5 Some Light Emotional Content: A boy dies from a brain tumor, and a woman cries over it. He slowly loses his sight and becomes more listless, though there is little extremely dramatic detail. A woman gets a stroke. Characters worry that people will die, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. A woman visits her mother’s grave. Characters that died in the past or died recently are mentioned. One is mentioned to have died from a heart attack. A baby cries from colic and stomach pain. It is mentioned that a mother had a stillborn child. Characters cry for several reasons, whether for someone’s death, someone’s injury (or their own past one), or just emotional circumstances. A girl is mentioned to have tripped and gotten a scab.There is mention that a man was believed to have drowned. A woman tells a girl that she will get a headache from drinking too much lemonade, though it never says if she does or not. The acknowledgements thank different people and a society related to hospices and sclerosis. “Coffin” is used for descriptive purposes when a sick person is laid down.

Religious Issues: 1/5 Some Religious Issues: There is mention of head coverings, and Katherine, by the end of the book, believes that it is God’s will for wives to wear head coverings.

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Haunting” is used for descriptive purposes.

Others: Some people are once briefly mentioned to be dancing. Women are mentioned to wear pants. A woman once thinks that she would “drown her sorrows” in wine if she were a drinker, though she doesn’t.

Overall: 2½/5 Almost Child Appropriate: Overall, I would recommend the book for children twelve to thirteen and older for some emotional and romantic content.

Movies

A Movie Review of The Best Bad Thing

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Best Bad Thing by Peter Rowe (Director)

Type: Great Depression, Historical Fiction, Japanese

Basic Plot: In the summer of 1935, Rinko is forced to work on Mrs. Hata’s cucumber farm. She is sure that it will be boring and weird, but she slowly learns to come to like Mrs. Hata and finds a cause to fight and work for.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The story was a good family movie. There was no romance, little action, and little cliché content, but the familiar lesson from the old movies of working together is seen. The plot moves at a good pace. The story moves slower than most plots do in more modern movies, but it was not too slow to be boring. Many parents may like the pace, not being action packed fast or moving like a sloth.

Acting: 4/5 Well Done: The main actors and actresses and most of the secondary ones were realistic and entertaining. The ones that were not as good were more minor and were still ok. The main actors and actresses kept an accent throughout the movie that sounded realistic, and the Japanese spoken was real. The children were realistic, having facial features and tones that are common to children of that age.

Costumes and Scenery: 3½/5 Above Average: The costumes were plain, common clothes of that era. They were not overdone, but were not eyesores either, making them realistic. The scenery was also realistic. Though the family was poor, there were enough things of the right quality that made it believable. None of the clothes or scenery looked fake or had the “movie gloss” that many movies have today, making it less fancy, but still a pleasure by being reasonably believable.

Music: 3/5 Average: There was some cliché oriental music, as well as silence. None of the music was especially memorable, but it was not an ear sore either.

Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: The moral of the movie is seen in the title, that even things we think at the time are bad can be blessings for us and others. Rinko is embarrassed and horrified that she will have to work all summer for Mrs. Hata, but eventually finds it a pleasure to work there. Children naturally learn this as they grow older; that what they hate is good for themselves and others. A childish mindset is put aside as we learn what pain others go through, as Rinko’s selfishness starts to disappear as she learns more about Mrs. Hata’s family’s hard life.

Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: I recommend this movie in quality. I believe children thirteen and younger will like it best, though I believe parents may will enjoy watching it with their children.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive: A girl takes a bath, but all that is shown is her leg up to her knee, her face, and her shoulders. A girl’s leg can be once seen a few inches up her nightgown when she gets up from her bed.

Violence: 1/5 Light Violence: Two men push each other in a fight, and a man is held on the ground. A man tries to punch another man, but is stopped from doing so. A girl smacks her brother with a towel a few times times. A boy throws cucumbers at a sign when he is angry. Children bump into each other twice.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Some Emotional Content and Injuries: A boy is shown with some blood on his face from a train accident, and other children get it on their face, clothes, and a handkerchief from helping him. He is later unconscious and seen bandaged on his head and arm. A girl sprains her ankle when she jumps off a train. A girl is told that if she misses her jump, she will die from impact with the train’s wheels. Two people that died in the past are mentioned, one having died of tuberculosis. A woman’s back is once mentioned to hurt. Characters tear up a few times from emotional things.

Religious Issues: ½/5 Once in the background, a movie poster with the words “Devil Dog” can be briefly seen.

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: Men smoke a cigarette and a pipe, about once or twice each. A girl once listens to music on a record with a jazz sound. Girls wear overalls.

Overall: 1/5 All Ages Appropriate: This movie impressed me morally. There was nothing really inappropriate, no gore, and the fight scene was something that most parents could approve of. I definitely recommend it for all ages.

Books

A Book Review of The Journal of Ben Uchida

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Journal of Ben Uchida Citizen 13559 Mirror Lake Internment Camp by Barry Denenberg

Type: Children’s Series, Diary, Historical Fiction

Basic Plot: Ben Uchida and his family are put into an internment camp after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The story was interesting, though a little predictable in some ways. It was a little unsatisfying in some ways, as it lacked some of the details it could have had, and there were no real dynamic content. Characters were also lacking in dynamics.

Writing Style and Setup: 2½/5 Below Average: The style was more childish and simple than some other styles of Dear America diaries. It was also more cynical and critical in spirit.

Moral: 1/5 Bad Role Models: Ben Uchida and his friends are all terrible role models. Ben is cynical, angry-spirited, and childish. He looks at adults as morons who don’t ever mean what they say, and he pessimistically looks at everything in his life. I admit that sarcasm and cynicism can be funny to watch when done right and appropriately, but this was just done in an annoying, selfish manner, with little humor. The Bible also has a lot in Proverbs to say about those that are scornful in spirit. On another note, his friends tend to be immoral and foolish, often convincing him to do immoral and foolish things.

Overall: 2/5 Below Average: I was more than a little disappointed with this Dear America book. While the information was accurate and the plot was interesting, the main character is annoying, and the Japanese spirit is lacking. This is perhaps to replace the Japanese spirit with a more American spirit that some of the second and third generation Japanese no doubt had, but I think the characters’ attitudes were to too liberal to be something I could believe the average twelve year old in World War II America would have.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 An Inappropriate Attempt: Ben’s friend convinces him to spy on some girls when he believes they will be changing. The girls turn out to have changed before they came.

Violence: 2/5 Some Violence: Violence, death, and suicide are used a lot in exaggerations and sometimes in descriptions. The bombing of Pearl Harbor is mentioned. Characters wonder and believe several times that the Japanese will be killed systematically by the government. While angry, a woman purposely destroys all of her dishes. It is mentioned that a man hangs himself. Some boys play a knife throwing game, and a knife gets in a boys ankle. Someone throws a brick through a window. A boy elbows a kid, and he gets revenge by charging him in football. A woman gets hit in the head with a baseball. A boy attacks another boy, and though nothing to descriptive happens, it does mention the damage that was done. It is mentioned that a movie has a father that hits his son. It is mentioned that a man is shot to death by some soldiers. Characters fall, though rarely, if ever, get seriously hurt. A man is said to have threatened violence, but whether he truly did or not is never said. Several characters deaths are mentioned in the epilogue from bombing, gunshot, and unnamed causes.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Light Swearing and Racial Terms: “Damn” is misused once. The term “Jap” is used at least ten times.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Some Emotional and Disturbing Content: World War I, the Alamo, and the Civil are briefly mentioned and World War II is the time of the diary. There is mention of characters dying and getting injured in the war. Both white and Japanese people wish to hurt and kill each other throughout the book, at least twice wanting or threatening to burn down the other ones homes. One boy’s house is mentioned to have most likely been purposely burned. It is mentioned that a roof caught on fire from a sparkler. Characters cry and tear up a few times, usually from the way the children are being raised in the internment camps, and though it is not overly depressing, it is usually at least sad to read. A boy screams once when he gets hurt. A man is rumored to have died from soldiers, and it is rumored that the Japanese men are beaten. A boy is hit so hard in a football game that his a boy wonders if he killed him, and the event is described a little descriptively, though not too morbidly. Military men swarm a crowd when the crowd becomes restless, though no one is hurt. A boy makes a joke about tanks while he is being searched for weapons. Two characters in a movie are mentioned to have died. Soldiers point guns at people and guard from towers and streets. Rumors of riots are briefly mentioned a couple of times, as well as that tear gas killed the rioters. A man is greatly traumatized from being interrogated and held by the Americans and, though not completely mentally destroyed, he is obviously and greatly changed from it. Japanese possibly torturing Americans is briefly mentioned. Several characters deaths are mentioned in the epilogue from bombing, gunshot, and unnamed causes. Characters are briefly mentioned to sometimes faint. Characters hope they don’t get hurt. Characters mention feeling light pain from different circumstances. Bleeding is mentioned at least twice, and characters have or get bruises, cuts, scars, scratches, and swollen eyes. A boy is possibly blinded after getting attacked by another boy. Characters are mentioned to be carried on stretchers. A man is mentioned to have gotten a concussion. The historical facts mention the murder and lynching of Chinese immigrants, as well as military duty done by Japanese-American soldiers in World War II, as well as at least one soldier’s death. The author is mentioned to have written many books about war and war heroes.

Religious Issues: 1/5 Brief Mention A man is described as a boy’s “idol.” In the historical facts, a man is mentioned to be the son of a Buddhist monk.

Magic: ½/5 Slight Mention: “Magic” is used for descriptive purposes. A movie with “Ghost” in the title is mentioned.

Others: Characters smoke, illegally gamble, and are strongly hinted to drink, and sake (rice wine) is drunk by adults and children once. A man is said to have been drunk, but whether truly was or not is never said. Girls practice for a dance, and children perform a dance. A man in a movie is mentioned to have had more than one wife over his life. A man tells his son that there may be people on other planets. Santa Claus is briefly mentioned. Women start to wear only pants because of the sand. “Gamble” is used for descriptive purposes. “Ballet and interpretive dance” are mentioned.

Overall: Morally, the worst thing is probably the boys attempting to spy on changing girls. Other than this, morally there is not really anything wrong with it concerning content, but the main moral and attitude of the story causes me to not really recommend it.

Movies

A Movie Review of McKenna Shoots for the Stars

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

McKenna Shoots for the Stars by Vince Marcello (Director)

Type: Contemporary

Basic Plot: McKenna is an average ten year old girl, but soon finds that she has some academic problems. Wanting to drown herself in gymnastics, but prevented from doing so, she has to come to terms with having to get a tutor.

Quality

Plot: 3/5 Average: The plot had several things in it that taught the moral, though the story was not extremely interesting for everybody. Since the movie is about a yen year old girl, girls in that age group will probably be the ones that enjoy it most. The plot was predictable in some ways, but it was not full blown laziness. In a lot of ways, it could be seen as a chick flick for preteens, minus the romance.

Acting: 4/5 Well Done: The acting was good, as well as the script. Body movements, tones, and facial expressions were realistic and believable. Sometimes the script was a little predictable or the voice acting had small traces of fakeness, but overall it was believable and realistic.

Costumes and Scenery: 4/5 Well Done: The scenery and costumes were both done beautifully. Homes looked like real middle to upper class homes, and schools and businesses were also detailed. Costumes and regular clothing were detailed just enough to be neither overdone nor too plain. Though not pure eye candy, the movie was pleasant to watch.

Moral: 4/5 A Very Good Moral: The main moral of the movie was humility, though it was shown in many different ways. One way was in excepting help, as McKenna must learn to accept that she needs tutoring. Another was in not always putting yourself first, as McKenna learns that she needs to set aside time for others needs and wants. Lastly, McKenna learns the importance of apologizing and admitting she was wrong. All three of these are good examples of humility. When McKenna acts in pride early on in the movie, it immediately results in consequences. This movie not only shows humility is good, but that pride is bad.

Another moral aspect I liked was how the adults were portrayed. The adults were shown as intelligent and helpful. McKenna was occasionally overly dramatic and mouthy, though a lot less so than most movies show children.

Overall: 4/5 Well Done: Though the plot is a little cliché, overall, I recommend this movie for preteen girls when it comes to quality. It many ways it is better than the average movie for children.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Immodest Costumes: The girls wear tight and high gymnastics outfits that reveal the thigh and sometimes even a little more. Some of the outfits are low or short, though only by a few inches, and little cleavage is revealed.

Violence: ½/5 Injuries: A girl breaks her ankle after falling off of a balance beam. Several girls fall during gymnastics routines. It is mentioned that a girl broke her wrist.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Light Misuse:“Geez” is said twice. God’s name is taken in vain at least once, though it may have been said twice.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Slightly Emotional Content: Two girls cry once each, though one more so tears up than cries. A girl mentions that she threw up from stress and that she wishes she would get an injury. Some girls talk about feeling sore from using a wheel chair.

Religious Issues: 0/5 None

Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention A girl reads a story that has a “magic looking glass” in it.

Others: Pop music, country pop, and light rock are played throughout the movie. It includes drums. It sometimes has a rebellious spirit. Girls dance for fun and for rhythmic gymnastics, and a girl mentions that she used to dance. A boy plays the drums against a desk. A man air plays a guitar as his family sings, and later they sing a heavy rock song in the credits. Earlier, they also talk mention his “grunge college rock band.” A rock band can be seen playing light rock in the background of a café. “DJ” is mentioned in a song. Girls wear pants.

Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: The biggest issues would probably be the clothing and the worldly music. I wouldn’t really recommend it to boys because of this, and for many families it may not work out at all. If someone did watch, I would say that it would be ok for all ages.

Books

A Book Review of The Confession

WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.

The Confession by Beverly Lewis

Type: Amish, Christian Fiction, Contemporary

Basic Plot: Katie has gone to look for her birth mother while her family grieves at home.

Quality

Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: Second books tend to be little more than bridges between the first and third, but I felt the author was trying to do more than that. The story was still interesting, and characters still developed. Some of the servants were more cliché than the Amish community characters had been, in my opinion. The plot had good things in it that were believable and thought out well, though not extraordinarily. The ending was a little cliché, but other than that it was not obviously or painfully cliché.

Writing Style and Setup: 3/5 Average: The writing style was the same as the first book. The descriptions were not as frequent and detailed, I believe, as the first book.

Moral: 2½/5 A Good, Partially Noticeable Moral: Though the moral is weaker in this book, I believe the moral that can be seen in this book is that God will come through for us. Katie’s mom prays that she will meet her daughter before her death and eventually does. The moral was not as expounded on as the first books moral was, but it could still be seen. There was little thanking of God for bringing about her daughter at the end of the book.

Overall: 3/5 Average: As most seconds books, The Confession was not as good as the first, but it was still enjoyable and did not feel forced. I think it is therefore above the average book, but like still not amazing. I believe that girls and women twelve to adult would enjoy this story.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: A girl is described as “sensual” and “seductive,” and Katie discovers racy, red undergarments in her suitcases. “Seductively” is used to describe a way a man speaks. It is mentioned that a woman had been embarrassed at any inappropriate “innuendo.” It is mentioned that a man got a vasectomy. A boy is known for being a flirt. A woman flirts with a married man and jokingly tells him to leave so that she can change. A woman confesses to her boyfriend that she is not a virgin, and her boyfriend is mentioned to have asked several times for intimacy before marriage, though he was always refused. A man kisses a woman he is dating, touches her hand, and “put his arm around her.” He later kisses her once after they are married. “Seductive” is used for descriptive purposes.

Violence: There are descriptions that use violence. It is mentioned a man dragged and forced a woman out of his house. It is mentioned that a man punched his pillow. Katie cuts her hand with a knife.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: It is mentioned once that a man swears, though it does not say what he said.

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: There are descriptions with death and amputation, and shunned characters are often looked at as if they were dead. A woman believes her old boyfriend had died by drowning, though he hasn’t. Characters talk about a woman dying. A woman has several instances of spasms from sclerosis, and once or twice they are described in detail. A woman slowly goes insane from sorrow and believes she is hearing a child cry. A woman almost chokes on a drink. A woman slowly dies from sclerosis though the book and gets pneumonia, and Katie watches her mother when she dies. Characters are mentioned to have died in the past, including a brief mention of a stillborn baby. A boys feet hurt from having cut his “toenails too short,” and he exaggerates that he practically cut them off. A girl bleeds from a cut once.

Religious Issues: A girl thinks a man is like the devil for his wicked ways, and wonders if that’s what his middle initial stands for. It is mentioned that a girl recites a prayer from a prayer book, though it does not say what it is, and she is encouraged to pray by her relatives to pray using her own words. Characters are mentioned to wear head coverings. A boy says how he believes certain people will go to hell. “Haunting,” “haunted,” and “ghost” are used for descriptive purposes.

Magic: “Magic” and “spellbound” are used for descriptive purposes.

Others: “Dance” is used for descriptive purposes. A woman is given medical drugs and shots. A woman had once thought about divorcing a man but didn’t. A man smokes a cigar, and he uses an ashtray. The cigar is also used for descriptive purposes.

Overall: Overall I would say it’s appropriate for children twelve and older.

Here is a review to the third book, The Reckoning: https://christianentertainmentreviewsblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/a-book-review-of-the-recking/

Movies

A Movie Review of The Shunning

The Shunning by Michael Landon Jr. (Director)

Type: Amish, Drama

Basic Plot: Katie Lapp is an Amish girl about to marry the bishop, but secrets that her family has been hiding from her change her entire perspective on life.

Quality

Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The plot had a different timeline and events than the book, so much so in some ways that I wonder how the next movie will match the book. Some events are the same and the general feel of the movie is the same, but other events and their order and way are completely different. I would like to say it has the spirit and frame of the story but a slightly different telling of it. The only poor scene was the discovery of the dress, in my opinion, as it seemed like Katie just randomly wandered in the attic and found her dress in an almost purposeful manner. Other than that, scenes were pretty natural. I liked that most of the reveal was left near the end of the movie, while the book reveals quite a lot near the beginning and middle. It also ended well, making a sequel very possible without feeling like there was serious unresolved plot content.

Acting: 3/5 Above Average: The acting was about believable and realistic, especially some of the middle aged women. The characters spoke with an accent, which some may find annoying, but others may find perfectly fine. The main characters were able to keep a strong accent, though sometimes in emotional scenes it would waver or tend to disappear. The only actress who kept a pure accent despite emotional scenes (in my opinion) was Katie’s mother.

Costumes and Scenery: 3 /5 Above Average: Since I have had times in my life where I lived near the Amish, I know how they dress. Some of the costumes wear inaccurate in shape, and some even included buttons, something that Amish are not allowed to wear. The head coverings were definitely accurate though. I feel like some of the boys hair made them look like boy band members in Amish clothes, though, and Katie was sometimes noticeably wearing light makeup. The only huge disappointment was that neither Katie nor her mother had red or auburn hair or even a strawberry blond. Later I saw an extra that did have the flaming red hair Katie was supposed to have, while the books said no one else in the town had a red headed child.

Scenery was simple for Amish scenes and not overdone in the English ones. It was believable in the right ways, looking like homes that one could or does live in, or stores one has gone to.

Moral: 2 /5 More Toned Down Moral: The moral was more toned down in the movies, probably because the author could not explain character’s internal battles as much. Though the movie was more trying to tell a story than a moral, I believe the moral that can easily be seen is that lying has terrible consequences. Katie’s mother hides a secret from her daughter for years and even tries to prevent certain things Katie wants because of her insecurities. As a result, Katie leaves the Amish and is shunned.

Overall: 3 /5 Above Average: I think this is a good movie of the book, but I think it could have been better in some of the costumes and more accurate. The movie was good in its own way, though I wonder how the sequel will work with some of the information missing. I believe Christian families, though especially girls, will like it.

Moral Content

Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Suggestive: Some of the shirts the characters wear may be considered a little low, though little to no defined cleavage or curvature is shown. A girl gets pregnant outside of marriage. A boy kisses a girl on the cheeks, and a boy and girl kiss on the lips, all unmarried, though not passionately.

Violence: 1/5 One Incidence: A woman cuts her finger.

Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Some Misuse: God’s name is taken in vain three times (though that does depend on perspective, such as “Thank God!” in a more flippant sense than a Christian.)

Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Emotional and Slightly Intense Content: There is mention that a horse may soon “give up the ghost.” Descriptions like “will get you shot” and “old graves” are used. A woman is dying of a disease. It is mentioned that she passed out and had surgery. A man is mentioned to have died in a boating accident. A woman gives birth to a child who dies immediately from heart problems, and there is mention of them never having children again and that past children had died. In a rage, a man destroys a guitar. Characters cry or on the brink of crying for various regions, though emotional or sad nothing overly dramatic is done. Blood is briefly seen after a woman cuts her finger, and it is later seen bandaged.

Religious Issues: 1/5 Brief Suggestion: Katie goes to an Amish confession, though doctrinally wrong it is not like the Catholics or creepy and cultish feeling, and characters wear head coverings. A girl talks to a man that is presumed dead, hinting it was a dream, ghost, vision, or even her talking to herself.

Magic: 0/5 None

Others: A woman mentions that her mother drank and did drugs. Women wear pants. A boy pretends to play an air electric guitar. There is some music with a beat and light rock/punk music played a few times for background music or listened to by Katie in secret.

Overall: 1/5 All Ages Appropriate: Besides some of the drama regarding pre-marital birth, I think this movie is recommendable for just about anybody.