Yesterday, I had the pleasure of accompanying my nine year old friend Grace to a “sneak peak” at the film Ramona and Beezus, which will be released in theaters on July 23. Honestly, it was a treat to take in this upbeat film, even though I haven’t personally read the famous Ramona books. The actors in the movie were fantastic, the plot moved quickly and the soundtrack had me singing along several times with some favorite tunes that make there way into the film.
Close to the opening of the movie, Ramona (wonderfully played by newcomer Joey King) shares the priceless line, “If you can’t be brave at recess, how can you do it when it really counts?” This pearl of wisdom is shared as her imagination takes her far away from the playground monkey bars to a perilous climb over a computer generated canyon – it’s the first of many fun CGI scenes in the film that give us a peek into little Ramona’s “overactive imagination”. I loved these whimsical moments in the film that remind you what a wonderful thing it can be to daydream, to visit faraway lands, and to see the bigger, bolder version of yourself – the version who’s ready to take on the world.
There are many laugh-out-loud moments in Ramona and Beezus, and I’ll admit to shedding a tear once or twice too. As a “Daddy’s girl” myself, my favorite scenes in the film occurred between Ramona and her father (John Corbett), who tries to keep a brave face in the midst of being downsized into unemployment. I also love Ramona’s scenes with her adorable Aunt Bea (Ginnifer Goodwin), and also loved the unfolding gentle love story between Bea and her old high school flame Hobart.
A consistent theme in Ramona and Beezus echoes with Ramona’s telling words, “I can be extraordinary” – this is a little girl whose exuberant energy frequently gets her and her family into trouble – big and little! But the truth is, Ramona keeps trying to help her family and to be a better version of herself. Her teacher, wonderfully played by Sandra Oh, has a regrettably small role in the film but a big impact on the Quimby family in the end.
Sadly, I’m unable to speak to the film’s treatment of the Ramona books. But I will say that if you’re looking for a nice family film, or a special date with your favorite little girl, Ramona and Beezus looks like a winner. Grace, who is a truly extraordinary nine year old, would definitely concur!