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What to know: Sweet story.
SARAH MACDOUGAL MEETS THE GHOST OF BEETHOVEN is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 4-14
42 minutes
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This is a sweet story about a girl and the power of music to inspire. It's fun to see Beethoven portrayed in modern day as a ghost. The music is beautiful! The story is about a young girl reluctantly learning to play Beethoven's music who meets the ghost of Beethoven who befriends her, teaches her how to play better and inspires a love of classical music and adds a spark to her life.

The story is a bit predictable and the pace is a bit slow. However, the photography and color palate are very pleasing. A scene where Sarah plays the Moonlight Sonata in front of an audience is particularly well shot. The modern day dress for the girl works fine and Beethoven's attire seems true to his time. The sets are varied, from the home to school to an auditorium to outside in a park, all very pleasing. The music is very well-played and definitely drives the story, given that it is essential to the plot. The ghost appears and disappears and the visual effects are fine although subdued. The two main actors playing Sarah and Beethoven perform quite well. Tere are some nice scenes with Sarah and her friends who want her to play soccer with them instead of practice the piano, but by the end they come to appreciate her talent. The production design is very good. Visually the film would look fine on a big screen, but its short-comings, such as slow pacing, may be more apparent than on a TV screen or computer. The message of the film is about being open to new experiences and you might become inspired. Good friends will stick by you even if you need to spend time on something other than them. I particularly enjoyed learning details about Beethoven, such as that his Moonlight Sonata was named by someone after he died and not by Beethoven himself and that, in anger, he once threw an unwanted entree at a waiter! My favorite part is when Beethoven tells Sarah he wants to rewrite a section of his famous Moonlight Sonata.

It's a sweet story and Sarah's relationship with her friends is nicely portrayed. Also, the music is beautiful and it might inspire some young viewers to take playing piano seriously. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 14. Reviewed by Michael F. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! jurors.

A disenfranchised girl is bored with life until the ghost of Beethoven appears and sparks a renewed interest in the piano, her friends, and life in general.
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