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The Aeronauts * Visual Effects Are So Realistic You Feel As If You Are There

Saturday, December 7th, 2019

In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history. While breaking records and furthering scientific discovery, their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world they have left far below them. But they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Zoe C. comments, “The Aeronauts is absolutely beautiful. I loved it in every way possible. Lately films have been in the time frame of the late 18 and 1900’s and this definitely follows that trend. While watching this movie I felt transported to another world, suspended between reality and fiction and it was very engaging.” Bella B. adds, “I love The Aeronauts because the visual effects are so realistic and you feel as if you’re actually there, living in that timeline! This is such a dramatic and romantic film. It’s so rich in remarkable acting and amazing back-stories of characters.” See their full reviews below.

The Aeronauts
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The Aeronauts is absolutely beautiful. I loved it in every way possible. Lately films have been in the time frame of the late 18 and 1900’s and this definitely follows that trend. While watching this movie I felt transported to another world, suspended between reality and fiction and it was very engaging. 

The storyline is about a scientist named James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) who desires to break the world record of how high someone has flown in the sky. But of course, he can’t do this alone so he brings along Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones), a scientist and passionate adventurer. In their voyage, they try to prove that climate can be predicted, an idea that seemed absurd at that time. They have to overcome multiple obstacles in order to get as high as they as their goal. Despite the complications, they are able to reach their goal, although something goes wrong during the process. The unlikely duo discovers things about themselves, each other and the world around them.

Every scene is enthralling. One of my favorites is when they are in the air and, all of a sudden, a bunch of yellow butterflies come from out of nowhere. It is so fascinating and beautiful. I love that Eddie Redmayne plays one of the main characters. He is one of my all-time favorite actors. He and Felicity Jones have a great chemistry, which is not necessarily romantic. I also love Jones’ performance. I don’t remember seeing her in any film, but I know that she was in Star Wars Forces of Destiny (the TV Series) and Rogue One. She worked with Redmayne before in The Theory of Everything. She is perfect for this role and makes it believable in the most of the out-of-this-world scenes and is very strong and charismatic. She definitively steals the show.

This film is inspired by true events and Rose’s character is loosely inspired by a scientist from the era, while Redmayne’s character is based on the real life meteorologist James Glaisher. One of the things that I really like about this movie is that, while Amelia is in the hot air balloon she gets flashbacks from a couple weeks before the event, so the audience discovers why it is so important for them to embark on this journey. The narrative moves between the past and present in the balloon and, at times, it seems to lose cohesiveness and gets a little lost. This story could have been told in a more serious tone, but I like some jokes that are thrown around throughout the film. The visuals are absolutely stunning and the special effects impeccably achieved.

The message of this film is that everyone has his or her own limits. Another message is that you should push yourself to the best of your abilities, but not too much. The important thing in life is not the way we see the world, but how our actions impact the world.

I give this film 3 ½ out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 8 to 18, and adults as well. Some of the scenes may be too intense for younger viewers. The Aeronauts opens on December 6, 2019. Be sure to check it out.

The Aeronauts
By Bella B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I love The Aeronauts because the visual effects are so realistic and you feel as if you’re actually there, living in that timeline! This is such a dramatic and romantic film. It’s so rich in remarkable acting and amazing back-stories of characters. The actors really bring life to their roles, making it seem like they  aren’t actors at all, but actual people in the 1800s.

The storyline is about a young widow Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) and a scientist James Glashier (Eddie Redmayne). Amelia is a brave and courageous woman who wants to make a difference. James is a scientist who wants his ideas to be heard.  They both go into a gas-air-balloon to try to make discoveries which would change the world entirely. In this epic journey, and what seems to be a crazy idea at the time because, James says he wants to try and predict the weather, they learn about themselves and each other. The more you watch the movie the more you learn about the characters’ pasts, which is just one of the reasons why I love this film.

My absolute favorite part of the film is when James goes to visit his father, Arthur Glaisher (Tom Courtenay) and they talk about how beautiful the twinkling stars are at night. The costume designer, Alexandra Byrne has made some amazing costumes. I really love them. They really suit the 1800s setting. An absolutely remarkable detail in this film is that everything done in the balloon actually happened. This film is inspired from a true story and the balloon actually aloft in real life during producing the film.

The message of this film is to live life at its fullest because, life is short. You can’t change in the world if you don’t try.  

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. You can find this film in the theatres December 6 and on Amazon Prime December 20, 2019.

Dark Waters * Compelling Look at One Man’s Fight Against the Corrupt Practices of a Multi-Billion Dollar Company

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

From Participant (Spotlight, Green Book), DARK WATERS tells the shocking and heroic story of an attorney (Mark Ruffalo) who risks his career and family to uncover a dark secret hidden by one of the world’s largest corporations and to bring justice to a community dangerously exposed for decades to deadly chemicals. Corporate environmental defense attorney Rob Bilott (Academy Award®-nominee Mark Ruffalo) has just made partner at his prestigious Cincinnati law firm in large part due to his work defending Big Chem companies. He finds himself conflicted after he’s contacted by two West Virginia farmers who believe that the local DuPont plant is dumping toxic waste in the area landfill that is destroying their fields and killing their cattle. Hoping to learn the truth about just what is happening, Bilott, with help from his supervising partner in the firm, Tom Terp (Academy Award®-winner Tim Robbins), files a complaint that marks the beginning of an epic 15-year fight—one that will not only test his relationship with his wife, Sarah (Academy Award®-winner Anne Hathaway) but also his reputation, his health and his livelihood. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “Dark Waters is a compelling look at one man’s fight against the corrupt practices of a multi-billion dollar company.” See his full review below.

Dark Waters
Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Dark Waters is a compelling look at one man’s fight against the corrupt practices of a multi-billion dollar company.

Bill Camp (left) as “Wilbur Tennant” and Mark Ruffalo (right) as “Robert Bilott” in director Todd Haynes’ DARK WATERS, a Focus Features release. Credit : Mary Cybulski / Focus Features

Based on a true story, Dark Waters follows Rob Bilott (Mark Ruffalo), a corporate lawyer who gets a call from a family friend named Wilbur (Bill Camp) about a disturbance on his farm in West Virginia. Over 100 of Wilbur’s cows have died and he suspects it has something to do with the creek running through his property. Wilbur’s hunch becomes a frightening truth as Rob investigates decades’ worth of wrong-doing by the DuPont chemical company.

Mark Ruffalo portrayal of Rob Bilott is excellent. He’s plays the legal scenes with conviction, but he feels more like a vessel to receive information than a fully- formed character. We see plenty of Bilott’s moral standards, but we rarely get a sense of what drives him to do the work he does or who he is emotionally. It makes it harder to fully connect with and invest in his character. A performance worth noting with much less screen time is Bill Pullman as lawyer Harry Dietzler. Pullman gives Dark Waters a boost of energy. He’s not comedic relief, but he’s certainly a breath of fresh air.

Mark Ruffalo stars as “Robert Bilott” in director Todd Haynes’ DARK WATERS, a Focus Features release. Credit : Mary Cybulski / Focus Features

Todd Haynes’s direction is both impressive and overbearing. Haynes has a flair for stylistic flourishes in his other films and here the moody, muted lighting that clouds much of the film creates a feeling of anxiety that makes every step of Rob’s journey and what he discovers uncomfortable in a way that’s very effective. By the same token, the color scheme is dark and dreary throughout and the film ends up with a dull sheen and a tone that feels at times heavy-handed.

An aspect of the filmmaking I love is the use of tracking shots to show not only the lives that DuPont destroyed, but the communities too. Dark Waters is unflinching when it comes to depicting the consequences of DuPont’s malpractice. It tells and more specifically, shows it, in a way that rightfully stirs up an audience reaction of anger and injustice.

Mark Ruffalo stars as “Robert Bilott” in director Todd Haynes’ DARK WATERS, a Focus Features release. Credit : Mary Cybulski / Focus Features

I recommend Dark Waters for ages12 to 18 for some shocking images and brief language. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. If you’re looking for a good or feel-good time at the cinema for the holidays, this isn’t it, but Dark Waters is definitely an informative andimportant film. Dark Waters opens in theaters November 27, 2019.

Frozen II * Beautiful Sequel To One of the Greatest Animated Films Ever Made

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she’ll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In Frozen, Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In Frozen II, she must hope they are enough. From the Academy Award®-winning team—directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, producer Peter Del Vecho and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez—and featuring the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen 2 opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Zoe C. comments, “Frozen II is a beautiful continuation of one of the greatest animated films ever made. We know the story and characters from the 2013 film, so it’s not as original, surprising and innovative as the first one, but as the story evolves so does the animation.” Lindalee R. adds, “I love Frozen II so much, because the animation is so fantastic and it is so great to see all the characters come back together for a whole new adventure.” Will C. chimes in with, “The message of this film is that when you feel that you’ve lost all hope, you should do the next right thing.” Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror, wraps it up with, “I must admit. I love Disney. I loved the very original Frozen and love Frozen II! The music is captivating, as are the loveable characters we fell in love with when Frozen debuted in 2013. When it comes to music, I predict “Into the Unknown” is going to become this year’s “Let It Go.” See their full reviews and interviews from the premiere and junket below.

Frozen II
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” opens on Nov. 22, 2019. © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Frozen II is a beautiful continuation of one of the greatest animated films ever made. We know the story and characters from the 2013 film, so it’s not as original, surprising and innovative as the first one, but as the story evolves so does the animation. The characters grow in their arc, becoming more mature, with stronger relationships and technically, Frozen II is a much better film than its predecessor.

Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad) and Sven have become a family. Now, they try to discover the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their Kingdom because it seems as if Elsa has awakened some powerful spirits. They leave Arandelle, their hometown, and embark into a Nordic odyssey, in the impetuous fall, where they will face dangers and will meet new characters. 

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” opens on Nov. 22, 2019. © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

During the film’s 103 minutes, we are delighted with seven new songs, most of them as iconic as those in the previous film and 19 score tracks. “Into the Unknown” stays with you and I’m sure we will hear this beautiful composition at the Oscar ceremony. Frozen II feels like a musical at times and that just makes the movie better.

The story is well narrated and easy to follow for little ones. Sisterhood is a powerful force and the bond between Anna and Elsa only strengths during the whole movie.

Frozen II is absolutely eye candy with a beautiful color palette similar to the original adding the warm tones of autumn. The filmmakers traveled to Finland, Iceland and Norway for inspiration. They consulted with a botanist in Oslo to make sure the forest resembles the authentic vegetation there. The animation is not just beautiful, but also a great representation of the Nordic folklore and the geography of the places. 

We can also appreciate the advances in technology in the new characters. Among the most challenging to animate are Nokk, the water spirit and Gale, the wind spirit. The costumes are very detailed and gorgeous and, even Olaf gets to wear one!

Featuring Evan Rachel Wood as the voice of Iduna, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” opens on Nov. 22, 2019. © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The actors from the original cast reprise their roles and Jason Ritter makes his Disney debut as the voice of Ryder. My favorite characters are Brunni, the salamander and Olaf played by Josh Gad. Olaf is very funny and his character becomes bigger in this sequel. My favorite scenes are the ones where the characters are discovering the elements in the forest, because each one represents a new challenge.

The message of the film is about creating your own destiny and not being afraid of growing up.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 16, as well as adults. Frozen II opens November 22, 2019. Be sure to check it out!

Frozen II
By Lindalee R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

I love Frozen II so much, because the animation is so fantastic and it is so great to see all the characters come back together for a whole new adventure. In the first movie Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) rediscovered being sisters. In this movie, which takes place three years after the original, their closeness as sisters is stronger than ever. 

The movie starts off in the past with Anna and Elsa’s parents telling Anna and Elsa about the enchanted forest. Their mom sings them a lullaby about a secret place full of magical powers. Then we fast forward to present time and Elsa hears a mysterious voice that calls her into the North Woods and the adventure begins. Along the way they meet the Northuldra, a tribe of people who live in the enchanted forest that are connected with the elements. On this journey Anna and Elsa find out about their parents’ past and Elsa finds out who and what she really is.

Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven journey far beyond the gates of Arendelle in search of answers. “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters November 22. © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Frozen II has seven new original songs and all new characters that help Elsa on her journey to discover who she is and the origin of her powers. “Lost in the Woods” sung by Kristoff; it is so funny because it has all these inside jokes from old music videos. There are also two great songs sung by Elsa – “Into the Unknown” and “Show Yourself.” Plus, Olaf (Josh Gad) also has a really fun song called “When I am Older’’ and Anna sings a song too. 

Throughout this movie Olaf become smarter and much funnier. It’s a really great experience to see that happen to our favorite little lovable snowman. This movie has a lot of comedy, adventure and touching moments.

The message of this film is to follow your heart and listen to your gut, because if you do, there could be a huge adventure waiting for you. Another important message in the movie is that family is important and will always be there for you; so don’t ever turn them away when they offer to help.

I give Frozen II, 5 out of 5 snowflakes and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adults will love it too! You can catch it in theaters November 22, 2019. Look for it.

Frozen II
By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Frozen II is an exciting animated adventure with lots of laughs! The bright, lively animation really gives character to everyone in this movie. The new songs and exciting story make this film a great choice for the whole family.

Trusted reindeer Sven and curious snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) are up for an adventure. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019. © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) set off on a quest with their friends Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and trusted reindeer Sven. They’re following a mysterious voice that only Elsa can hear; in hopes of finding the enchanted forest their father told them about when they were kids. Along the way, they encounter spirits of air, water, earth, and fire, and they learn of a mysterious fifth spirit that they must find. Elsa and Anna work together to right a wrong from the past, even though this may mean sacrificing everything.

Frozen II has lots of great new songs that help tell the story, but nothing as catchy as those in the original film. There is no main villain or antagonist, just a lot of angry spirits to deal with. The audience at the screening I attended really loved the sequence where Olaf treats some new characters to a hilarious recap of the first Frozen movie. The costume designers must have had a lot of fun designing the intricate costumes and Elsa and Anna both change clothes lots of times throughout the film. The animators have done some pretty incredible things, from making a horse out of water, to creating a flaming salamander. My favorite part is a funny song Olaf sings about how everything will make sense when he’s older.

Elsa (Idina Menzel) finds herself in an enchanted forest that is surrounded by a mysterious and magical mist. “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019. © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved..

The message of this film is that when you feel that you’ve lost all hope, you should do the next right thing. Parents should be aware that some beloved characters are in grave danger and young children might be upset by what befalls them. There are some really dark moments when even the usually optimistic Anna thinks all is lost. However, there are some great messages about bravery in the face of danger and doing the right thing despite the cost to yourself.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for children ages 6 to 12 and I believe adults will like it too. You can see Frozen II in theaters everywhere starting November 22, 2019.

Frozen II
By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

I must admit. I love Disney. I loved the very original Frozen and love Frozen II! The music is captivating, as are the loveable characters we fell in love with when Frozen debuted in 2013. The core characters, Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf and Sven are back and living seemingly normal, happy lives in Arendelle. Olaf ratchets up the comedy and has a plethora of entertaining lines and musical trips down memory lane.

Anna (Kristen Bell) learns that a voice has been calling Elsa, urging her to venture into the unknown where she must face the spirits of nature—wind, fire, earth and water. “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019. © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.


Everyone has grown-up a bit since we last saw the fine people of Arendelle. Kristoff can’t get out of his own way in his desire to propose to Anna and life seems to be merry for all, until a calling is felt by Queen Elsa and the group goes in search of answers in the Enchanted Forest, a forbidden place. Along the way, we meet new characters including Mattias (Sterling K. Brown), Yelana (Martha Plimpton) and Honeymaren (Rachel Matthews). They all have a part as Anna and Elsa’s quest to learn their family history begins and it gets a little dark as many ventures into the past can be.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” opens on Nov. 22, 2019. © 2019 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

When it comes to music, I predict “Into the Unknown” is going to become this year’s “Let It Go.” I’d be willing to predict the Golden Globe and the Academy Awards nomination for Best Original Song. I also predict Disney will sell millions of iguanas over the holidays. Disney’s sequel to Frozen has a built-in fan base, and the Disney marketing machine partnered with the world to ensure we know the film opens just before Thanksgiving, in plenty of time to entertain the entire family!

I give this film 4.5 of 5 stars for its beautiful animation, music and comedy.  I would have loved more character development, especially for the new characters.  This film will appeal to ages 3 to 18.  There is one segment which may appear scary to younger children. Frozen II opens in theaters November 22, 2019. See it!

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood * Timely Message About Forgiveness and Redemption

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

Two-time Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Selene W. comments, “It’s definitely A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood when Tom Hanks portrays the iconic Mister Rogers.  The message is timely and needed now more than ever.  This movie is not what I expected. You learn about Mr. Rogers’ through his relationship with a man who didn’t want to be his friend or neighbor.” Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer adds, “I grew up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. He seemed like the nicest man on the planet. Casting the nicest actor on the planet as Fred Rogers was brilliant. Mr. Hanks brings the deliberate-speaking teacher to life in a way I can’t describe.” See their full reviews below.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11 

It’s definitely A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood when Tom Hanks portrays the iconic Mister Rogers.  The message is timely and needed now more than ever.  This movie is not what I expected. You learn about Mr. Rogers’ through his relationship with a man who didn’t want to be his friend or neighbor.  It’s a message that we all need to hear.

Tom Hanks stars as Mister Rogers in TriStar Pictures’ A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is based on a true life story about the relationship that develops between Fred Rogers and a cynical reporter who is loath to interview him for a piece on American heroes.  In the movie, the reporter is Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) who gives an amazing performance.  Through his interactions with Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), Vogel begins to understand that part of him is broken.  The healing process begins as their friendship develops and you see Fred Rogers teaching him to understand, accept and voice his emotions and feelings.  It is beautiful.  Tom Hanks is masterful in this role at bringing out the transformation of his friend.

In addition to Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys, the cast has other powerful performances, notably Chris Cooper who plays Lloyd’s dad, Jerry Vogel.  Christine Lahti, as Lloyd’s Editor Ellen, pushes him to work on the hero piece and adds a touching element to the movie as well. The film is directed by Marielle Heller and written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster.  Music plays an important role in this movie and is by Nate Heller.  The scenes of Mr. Rogers playing the piano along with the behind-the-scenes of the television show during filming of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood are particularly moving. 

Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys star in TriStar Pictures’ A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

The message of this film is that anyone can change the world with words.  It’s a powerful message that we often forget.  Listen and think before you speak, as your words impact others.  Fred Rogers finds a positive way to help others express their feelings, which is not an easy thing to do, although he makes it look easy.  Forgiveness and redemption are another theme in this film.

I rate this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18 and adults will love it as well.  The film opens in theaters November 22, 2019 so don’t miss it this Thanksgiving season!

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

I grew up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. He seemed like the nicest man on the planet. Casting the nicest actor on the planet as Fred Rogers was brilliant. Mr. Hanks brings the deliberate-speaking teacher to life in a way I can’t describe.  I’m betting Tom Hanks will be nominated for many awards for this role. He becomes Fred Rogers in the film.

Kindness is so simple. This film is a beautiful and timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. In the film his character is named Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) and he is grumpy and not interested in an assigned puff-piece profile of Fred Rogers. Throughout the film, he works through his skepticism, and learns kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor.

Tom Hanks stars as Mister Rogers in TriStar Pictures’ A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Photo by: Lacey Terrell

The real lesson is learned by Lloyd as he works through issues of fathers, his own (Chris Cooper) and his new role as a father.  The film is moving and brings forth many emotions – from grief to sadness to joy, and everything in between. Lloyd’s wife, Andrea (Susan Kelechi Watson) is the bridge between Lloyd’s family pain and his future as a better Dad.

Lloyd spoke to my heart and begs the audience to feel emotions and be kind, clean up family messes and listen to others when help is needed. I believe every person who sees this film will be moved. The depth of Fred Rogers reach is felt on a public subway. I have not been able to forget this scene since I screened the film.

I give this film 4 of 5 stars for its beautiful theme, set design and character development.  At times, it is slow, yet is parallels Mr. Rogers’ pace so I’m not sure if this was intentional or a flaw.  This film will appeal to ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood opens in theaters on November 22, 2019. See it!

Ford v Ferrari * Pure Adrenaline Rush From Start to Finish

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Co. Together, they plan to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “We all love a good underdog and this film is a classic underdog story. Ford V Ferrari isn’t just about the race at Le Mans, but more about the human struggles encountered to get there. Pride and jealousy constrict Miles and Shelby at times, but the rigid corporate system of Ford Motor Company poses a greater challenge. Ford V Ferrari is an expansive, mesmerizing real-life story that feels perfect for the cinematic medium.” Selene W. adds, “Ford v Ferrari is an emotionally charged fast-track to the world of automobile racing.  You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you learn about race car driver and American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and the amazingly fearless British race car driver and engineer Ken Miles, who build a revolutionary race car for the Ford Motor Company.” See their full reviews  below.

Ford V Ferrari
Benjamin Price, Kids First! Film Critic, Age 14

Ford V Ferrari is a pure adrenaline rush from start to finish. It’s an absolutely thrilling film that fires on all cylinders.

Christian Bale in Twentieth Century Fox’s FORD V FERRARI.

Ferrari dominates the annual 24-hour race at Le Mans for much of the 1960s. Ford decides to throw their hat in the ring, in hopes that a victory at Le Mans will raise their struggling sales. The former racer turned car designer Carrol Shelby (Matt Damon) and his difficult, but passionate racer pal Ken Miles (Christian Bale) are both brought on to help Ford craft a car to get to the finish line.

Beneath the technical polish and gloss of Ford V Ferrari, the friendship between Shelby and Miles is the heart of the film. Christian Bale and Matt Damon are a large part of what makes this film work so well. This is their first movie together and yet, they interact with the ease of old friends. Their performances complement each other. You get really invested in this on-screen duo with an absurd amount of charm exuding from the screen.

Christian Bale and Matt Damon in Twentieth Century Fox’s FORD V FERRARI.

We all love a good underdog and this film is a classic underdog story. Ford V Ferrari isn’t just about the race at Le Mans, but more about the human struggles encountered to get there. Pride and jealousy constrict Miles and Shelby at times, but the rigid corporate system of Ford Motor Company poses a greater challenge. Ford V Ferrari is an expansive, mesmerizing real-life story that feels perfect for the cinematic medium. 

Ford V Ferrari puts you in the driver’s seat with the racers, but not in the way I was expecting. The stellar sound design and mixing are some of the best and extremely transportive. They give the racing sequences not just an immersive quality, but a transcendent one. James Mangold’s direction is excellent. He gives you sequences that put you on the edge of your seat and capture your gaze. More so, Mangold has a strong grasp on pacing. The film knows when to slow down and emphasize character and emotion and when to boost its engine and hightail it to the next scene. In a film this long, it’s remarkable that it feels as breezy as it does. Even if you know this story start to finish, the skill, technically and narrative in which it’s told make this ride one easily worth taking.

L to R: Matt Damon, James Mangold, and Christian Bale on the set of Twentieth Century Fox’s FORD V FERRARI.

I recommend Ford V Ferrari for ages 7 to 14 for language. Even if you’re not a race car fanatic, there’s a good chance you’ll love this film.  I happily give it 5 out of 5 stars. This is easily one of my favorites of the year. Ford V Ferrari zooms into theaters November 15, 2019.

Ford v Ferrari
By Selene Weiss, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11 

Ford v Ferrari is an emotionally charged fast-track to the world of automobile racing.  You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you learn about race car driver and American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and the amazingly fearless British race car driver and engineer Ken Miles, who build a revolutionary race car for the Ford Motor Company.  Together they strategize and compete to best the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the world’s oldest endurance race – the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The entire cast of this film is superb and their performances are hopefully award-winning.  The cast is lead by Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as Ken Miles.  Both actors are inspiring to watch; their interaction and relationship is gripping as they hurtle through space and time.  Each actor contributes to this magnificent story and fuels the emotional journey.  There are so many breakout performances in this film that they each deserve a Lap of Honour.

Ford v Ferrari is directed by James Mangold and casting is by Ronna Kress.  The production team enhanced this story with exquisite film editing, carefully chosen locations, excellent wardrobe, stunts and effects.  You really feel as if you are there in the 1960s, experiencing this time and mindset.  

There are so many messages in this film, including the value of teamwork, perseverance, loyalty, honor and questioning and knowing who you are.  On the race track lives depend on the pit crew and your support team in life is equally important to your ultimate direction.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults.  The film opens in theaters  November 15, 2019, so don’t miss it!

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