Dog of Flanders, A

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: +2

This classic story of a young boy and his dog is sure to tug at your heartstrings. Its based on the childrens book set in Flanders during the early 1800s. Orphaned Nello (Jesse James/ Jeremy James Kissner) lives with his ailing but loving grandfather (Jack Warden) in a small cottage outside a Flemish village. One day Nello and his grandfather find a big dog in the woods, almost beaten to death. The boy takes him home and nurses his new pet back to health. From then on Nello and his dog are inseparable. The boys only other friend is Aloise (Madyline Sweeten/ Farren Monet), the daughter of the affluent village miller. Although Nello dreams of becoming a famous artist like Paul Rubens, his grandfather is too poor to send him to school. When a well-to-do artist (Jon Voight) meets Nello by chance, he recognizes Nellos talent and encourages him to enter the annual art contest. Hope and heartbreak dominate DOG OF FLANDERS, but it ends on an uplifting note. It is a beautifully photographed and well-acted film for family members ages seven and older.

Parents may not choose DOG OF FLANDERS for very young children or very sensitive ones. The opening scene of Nellos mother dying, a drunk beating the dog, then later attempting to kill the boy and dog are all intense. Also, a fierce fire that destroys a barn may upset small children. Later, Nello and his dog almost freeze to death in a blizzard, and Nello has a "near-death" experience. In that rather lengthy sequence, he talks to Rubens and sees his mother and grandfather welcoming him to heaven. Parents should be prepared to answer questions about dying, out-of-body experiences and heaven. A lecherous married man seduces a young servant girl, but there is no contact on-screen and all we see is the girl buttoning her blouse after the incident. Nello and Aloise have their palms read by a group of gypsies camped in the woods and spend the night with them, upsetting the girls parents. But Nello accepts full responsibility for the incident. This film has many wonderful messages about pursuing your dreams and respecting people for how they live and not for what they have. Nellos love for his grandfather, friendship with Aloise and his dog, plus his determination to survive, will generate tears and cheers.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Warner Bros., 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

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: Few (4) timesAll Mild

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Few timesModerate (man beats dog, man lunges at boy and dog with knife, machete; fierce fire destroys barn)

Sex: None; Implied once (married man with girl in barnoff-screen with no nudity)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Once (married man leers at servant girl)

Drugs: Few times (drunkenness always portrayed negatively)

Other: Positive messages about friendship, family, pursuing dreams; fortune teller reads childrens palms

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Ages 7 and older

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