Movie Monday – Pit Pony – 10/3/11

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

Once in awhile, you stumble upon a movie that stays with you long after the credits have rolled. I discovered such a movie in Pit Pony (by Feature Films for Families).

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This touching film shows the dedication of young Willie MacLean, who must work in the dangerous mines so that his poverty-stricken family doesn’t succomb to starvation.  Willie excels in school, but he must leave his education behind to support his family, as he is their only hope. Not only that, but Willie also helps to care for his younger siblings. In the midst of this burden, Willie befriends a pony at the mine, which becomes somewhat like a ray of hope to Willie.

This heartwarming movie is one of my all-time favorites and has no objectionable content. However, it is not for the very young due to scary scenes in the mine and the loss of a loved one. It has several wonderful discussion opportunities, including the importance of courage, doing what’s right in the midst of hardship, family loyalty, family unity, responsibility, and treating others with mercy and grace when they least deserve it.  I would highly recommend this movie!

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Movie Review Monday – Dolphin Tale

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

IMG_0007 (2)This week’s Movie Monday Movie Review is Dolphin Tale.  When I saw the previews for this movie a while ago, I knew it would be a movie our family would just have to see. Add in the factor that my kids love 3D, and there was no chance we were going to miss it when it arrived at our theater last week.

Dolphin Tale is a movie that will warm your heart (and have your child asking if they please have a pet dolphin at home! 🙂 ) It is based on a true story and begins with an injured dolphin (nothing graphic is shown) who is rescued by a marine hospital. The discovery of the dolphin, named Winter, couldn’t come at a better time for Sawyer, a young boy who has just said goodbye to his beloved older cousin Kyle. Kyle has been called into active duty, leaving Sawyer feeling alone and discouraged. However, it isn’t long before Sawyer and Winter form a special bond.

Without many friends and missing Kyle (who also is somewhat like a fatherly role model to the fatherless Sawyer), the sweet and outgoing Hazel, is a welcome friend. She and her father, Gary, who is a marine hospital doctor, join Sawyer and several others in the effort to save Winter.

I loved the wonderful show of family unity in this movie. Sawyer, his mom, aunt, and Kyle are all very close. Hazel and her dad and grandpa are also close. When Kyle returns home from active duty with a severe injury, his family rallies around him. Friendship plays a huge role in this film and a doctor from the VA not only befriends those trying to save Winter, but also joins in the fight. Another thing I enjoyed about this movie was the positive light shed on homeschooling.

Winter becomes an inspiration to all, but especially those with physical disabilities. A little girl in a wheelchair travels with her mother eight hours to see Winter, thus opening an excellent opportunity for discussion of how we are to show compassion to others. Kyle, struggling with his depression from the life-changing injury he received, is inspired by Winter as well. Another great discussion topic of how we should always be mindful and grateful of what our soldiers endure just to ensure our freedoms.

I would highly recommend this movie for the entire family. It is a movie that will stay with you long after the closing credits!