Lassie (2006)

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +3

Cast: Peter OToole, Samantha Morton, Peter Dinklage, Steve Pemberton, John Lynch, Jemma Redgrave and Jonathon Mason. Written & directed by Charles Sturridge.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Based on Eric Knights best-selling book, Lassie Come Home, the film is set on the eve of WWII in a Yorkshire mining town. The Carraclough family is forced to sell Lassie to the Duke of Rudling when the family falls on hard times. When Lassie finds herself transported five hundred miles away to live in the Dukes remote castle in northern Scotland, she is determined to defy the odds and return to her home and the boy she loves. So begins an incredible adventure, set against a stunning series of British landscapes, that sees Lassie facing dangers natural and human and finding help in unexpected places as she makes her way across the country, to reach home in time for Christmas.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Sorry, its just not as good as the 1944 version, Lassie Come Home, with Roddy McDowell and the very young Elizabeth Taylor. While this new version hits all the marks like a well-trained, eh, dog, the original was luscious in its beauty and sentiment. The two kids in this version lack charisma; the great Peter OToole, one of my favorite actors, sadly, looks lost in another dimension when hes not delivering lines with too much bombast; you can often see this Lassie looking off camera for her commands; and the subplots depicting the lives of those touched by the dog on its journey, lack resonance. Its an okay film, sticking fairly closely to the original story, and there are some beautiful locales, but do yourselves a favor and rent Lassie Come Home. Its in color and a top-drawer tearjerker.

Perhaps the earlier version is better because it was made during the age of the studio system, when each department on the MGM lot consisted of the best of the best. MGMs talent finders searched the world for youth such as Taylor and Dowell, and Mickey Rooney and the rest, and placed them in projects that were bolstered by the entire studio. To that degree, todays filmmakers dont have the same support. Therefore, since movies are a collaborative art form, great films are now even rarer. Theyre still being made. Just not as often.

As I said, this is not a bad film. But I would encourage you to see the original. And there is one other more recent film that does justice to the same storyline, the horse film Black Beauty. Narrated from the perspective of the horse, this episodic, sometimes slow-paced adventure is beautifully photographed, with life lessons for children. A close adaptation to the Anna Sewell animal-rights classic, it concerns the life of an extraordinary horse as it passes from one owner to another. Starring Sean Bean and David Thewlis, this G-rated movie is a great film for the family. There are several films with the same title, but this 1994 production is the best.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: A couple of minor expletives (damns & hells) and a couple of English expletives, but no harsh or profane language.

Profanity: None

Violence: A coarse dog trainer beats Lassie with his belt. The owner learns of it and dismisses the culprit. The beating takes place off screen, but we do hear the dog react. A dwarf and two dogs are attacked by bandits. One small dog is killed by the bandits. The violence is there to further the story and is handled with discretion and sensitivity by the filmmakers.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Wine is served with dinner on several occasions.

Other: To protect a fleeing fox, several coal miners are seen urinating to throw the dogs off the scent. Its brief, done with humor and not too graphic. The film deals with poverty, but there positive lessons concerning honesty and people pulling together to help others. We hear a prayer and see people worshipping in church.

Running Time: 89 minutes
Intended Audience: Family

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