Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – A Film With a Message

WGTB_165x300_V1.jpg“The Watsons Go to Birmingham” is an original movie presented by Walmart and P&G for Walden Family Theater premiering September 20 on Hallmark Channel. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer B loves the acting in this film and the moral: “You can’t live your life in fear and live a good life.” His full review is below.

The Watsons go to Birmingham
by Keefer B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Video review available here:

This powerful, historical fiction takes place in 1963. The plot follows our protagonist Kenny (Bryce Clyde Jenkins) and his African American family from their house in Flint, Michigan to their family home in Birmingham, Alabama. While in Alabama, Kenny and his siblings are introduced to segregation and all its inhumanity.  In Michigan they lived free from sequestration except for what they experienced on TV. This film is seeded with real life situations and old black and white clips that are sewn together quite skillfully.

What I love about the film is the outstanding acting. The kids couldn’t be better. The characters go through so much they’re able to express a lot of emotion and does it show! I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there have been a lot of films about segregation this year; 42, Lee Daniels The Butler and more to come. What makes this film stand out is that the story is from 10-year-old Kenny’s perspective. When we view the world through a black adult’s eyes, we know they’ve probably experienced segregation. From a child’s level, we see they can’t comprehend why they’re treated poorly because of their skin color. That’s what makes it more powerful.

My favorite character is Kenny. I relate to him because he’s sort of a nerd, kindhearted and in this film, confused. I like to see how he deals with the different situations he’s placed in. Jenkins does a tremendous job portraying this character.

My favorite scene is when Kenny almost drowns. Kenny is swimming in the lake and gets sucked down into a whirlpool. Luckily, his brother Byron (Harrison Knight) saves him. This scene is intense and I got a little teary-eyed when Byron embraces Kenny and won’t let go.

The moral is, “You can’t live your life in fear and live a good life.” After the drowning incident Kenny thinks the whirlpool (Whir Poo) is out to get him so he magnifies emotional situations to the point of over-whelming dread.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this for 9-year-olds and up. I think this film is very educational. It’s a perfect film to show younger audiences and it has that family element to it that makes it entertaining.

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