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(Review originally written at 27 April 2006)

This is a movie with a very simple story, a simple setting and with simple characters. Yet everything in the movie comes perfectly together and works out fine. Because of this the movie has a very warm and, honest and tender feeling.

It sounds like a cliché but they really don't make movies like this anymore. If a movie like this would be made today it would be regarded as; sappy, over-the-top and just lame. However this film was not made in the 00's, it was made in the '40's, during the end of WW II. The movie its story and backdrops suite the time-period perfectly. It perfectly knows to capture the innocent life without any big problems, of an average American farming community, consisting out of Norwegian immigrants.

Let's face it, there is no main plot line present in the movie. The movie is just basically the one event after the other, as seen through the eyes of the two children Selma and Arnold, played by the child stars Margaret O'Brien and Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins. Most of the events don't really have a lot to do with another or have a very significant meaning for the story but that is at the same time why this movie feels so real and honest. It doesn't really try to force anything (although there are still some forced moments in the movie.) and make the movie an almost documentary like observation of the farming community. Not everything in the movie works out but the moments that do work out are good and powerful enough to make the movie a success.

It's a movie about the very simple things in life, which often are the most precious things. It are the smallest things that makes us happy and smile. This movie shows that and has that special kind of feeling written all over it.

Margaret O'Brien was a real talented child star and she plays a fine role in this movie, even though of course by today standards she is completely overacting and overly cute. One of the strongest and most reliable things in the movie is Edward G. Robinson in the role of a greatly portrayed gentle character, that gives the movie an extra warm and realistic feeling at certain moments.

Yes, it's a sappy movie, especially of course by todays standards but its a very honest and warm movie. I by no means would call this movie a masterpiece, classic, or a must-see but it's a movie worth watching when you get the chance to.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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