Friday, May 8, 2009

Naomi, Florida Needs a Friend

Based on the best-selling book, Because of Winn-Dixie is the heartwarming "tail" of a young girl (AnnaSophia Robb) whose life is changed by a scruffy, fun-loving pooch she names Winn-Dixie. The special bond between them works magic on her reserved dad (Jeff Daniels) and the eccentric townspeople they meet during one unforgettable summer.

Title: Because of Winn-Dixie
Release: February 18, 2005
Genre: Family
MPAA Rating: PG
Based On: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Writer: Joan Singleton
Director: Wayne Wang
Music By: Rachel Portman
Produced By: Trevor Albert & Joan Singleton
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox & Walden Media
Run Time: 106 minutes
Official Site

An unhappy little town is brought together not through tragedy or heroic deeds but by a lonely little girl new to town and the dog she finds in a Winn-Dixie grocery store causing chaos in the 2005 film Because of Winn-Dixie. Based on the modern classic, award-winning book of the same name by Kate DiCamillo, this rather simple story translated to the screen very well. Especially since it stayed very close to the DiCamillo’s original book and had the “same kind of dramatic structure” as well.

AnnaSophia Robb plays the main character India Opal Buloni (“sometimes the kids at school, they call me Lunchmeat”) in her very first starring movie role opposite Jeff Daniels (101 Dalmatians) who plays her father the preacher. For only an 11-year-old girl, she was a total natural and according to her cast mates, quite the professional too. However, the real star of this picture may not have gotten top billing but he sure did make the movie what it is and that was Winn-Dixie himself. He was played by two rare French breeds called Picardy Shepherds named Lyco and Scott. Can’t forget the fabulous Dave Matthew who plays the pet shopkeeper Otis either as one of the most amazing moments in the film happens in his store.

Besides the dog, of course what makes this film really special is the setting. I think Jeff Daniels said it best, “"There's just a different feel in the South that I think Wayne captures real well, not only in how he pulled the performances off, but also in the look." The really tiny town is run-down, neglected and just plain lonely but as Opal shows in her drawings over the course of the film, Winn-Dixie and her really bring it back to life. “Winn-Dixie was better at making friends than anyone I had ever known,” and in doing so Opal finally gets those friends she was praying for.

Because of Winn-Dixie isn’t a preachy movie (we never even learn what denomination the preacher is a part of) but it is a good family film even with some of the dumbed-down parts (the cop for example- totally unnecessary). Opal tells Otis “Music is better if someone's listening,” at one point in the film and that’s equally true for book to movie adaptations. They’re always better when the director has read and loved the book because then they can really capture the essence that the author has created- just like this film does.

Related Posts: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Links:, Wikipedia, Complete Script
Interview: IGN with Jeff Daniels


AnnaSophia Robb on Ellen:

AnnaSophia Robb on the Today Show (with Lyco):


  1. This looks like a delightful book and movie. I love books that capture the feel of the South, which isn't always easy to do.

  2. My kids and I went to see this movie at the theatre when it came out, and now we own it in our collection. Its such a great family movie. Nice review Jen!!

  3. yep agreed, good review.. i did see this movie and enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

  4. This is a wonderful book and movie. My students have always loved the book since it came out and when the movie hit, were very excited! Kate DeCamillo who wrote this as well as THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, wrote one of my favorite books since it came out and every child or class I have read it to begs to have it read again, THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TOULANE...a must read for adults and kids!

  5. Definitely sounds like a good adaptation. I'm looking forward to both book and movie :)

  6. I loved this movie. It made me laugh and cry. I never knew there was a book though so I might have to read it now. Thanks for the review.

  7. I really enjoyed this movie! It was fun. :)

  8. Hi Jen :) Came by to wish you a very Happy Mother's Day!



  9. Oh, this is so cute. I've seen it more than once and I can see it again. Looking for the book, haven't found it yet - but soon =)

    Great blog!

  10. Bermudaonion: Very true! The movie has a southern feel at times though too.

    Wendy: Thanks! It is a great family movie though some parts weren't necessary at all.

    DesLily: It is charming and a lot better than I thought it would be!

    Bingo: I haven't read any other DiCamillo books but I really want to eventually. She's a great author :)

    Nymeth: I hope you enjoy them!

    MonieG: You're welcome! Hope like the book though it's almost the same as the movie.

    Kailana: I hated the cop but it was a good movie :)

    The Chic Geek: I hope you had a great Mother's Day too :)

    Denise: Thank you! Glad you stopped by and I hope you find the book soon :)

    Naida: It is and I just want to hug that dog!

    The Book Resort: Me too :o)

  11. This is a great family movie! She's a very talented young actress. The movie made me want to move to a small town in the South.

    Diary of an Eccentric



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