A young boy, Adrien, grieving the loss of his father, befriends a down-on-his-luck clown who performs incredible feats of magic. Fascinated, the boy vows to replicate the clown’s wizardry and keeps practicing, practicing, practicing! Meanwhile, Adrien’s mom also bonds with the gentle, good-natured clown, and they invite him on a camping trip to celebrate the boy’s 10th birthday, along with Adrien’s aunt and uncle. A fun party ensues and the clown entertains them by making butterflies appear out of thin air. When the clown’s dog chases after a squirrel, the distraught Adrien follows and gets lost in the woods. The boy ultimately realizes that he must use the magical powers taught to him by the clown in order to be rescued. A story of healing, courage, and most of all, the power of knowing that magic is real for those who believe.
Just as the title of the The Boy, The Dog, and the Clown includes a variety of characters, the film is a variety of feelings and cinematic flavors. Though the film is set currently, from a certain angle, it may remind one of some 1960’s European films. The poetic voiceover. The boy’s hopeful perspective. The warm colors of beaches and butterflies. The performer seeking a new life. And even a tinge of tragedy along the way to keep the emotion grounded in heart’s reach.
Very young audiences may find the pace of it slower, and some of the aspects—grief, potential dangers of alcohol, and a little violence—to be a bit mature. But, there is the potential for a positive family discussion regarding the negativity and destruction alcohol can have, as one of the elements of the story involves (though depicted via a newspaper and talking, not graphically) a man driving under the influence, and accidentally killing his wife and child. This aspect of the story is presented tastefully.
The Boy, The Dog, and the Clown also places emphasis on belief, although it does not expand very much beyond oneself as the focus of belief. This also could be a positive discussion to consider what the best way to believe in oneself is, and the best way to express it.
The boy says: “Sometimes, to believe is the real magic.”
This idea might apply to the film also. If one watching it does not appreciate the film, connect with the story, or enjoy the visuals, they may not have a very “magical” experience. But, if one does appreciate the film, go on the journey with the story, and like the visuals, then the film may be a wonderful time. The Boy, The Dog, and the Clown is Dove-Approved for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take:
Silly slapstick, striving for belief in oneself, and tragic sympathy combine in this family film which may be a bit mature for some kids.