Because of Winn-Dixie
Based on the perennial best seller, “Because of Winn-Dixie” tells the story of a lonely young girl who adopts an orphaned dog she names Winn-Dixie (for the supermarket where she found him). The bond between the girl and her special companion brings together the people in a small Florida town and heals her own troubled relationship with her father.
If you want to warm your heart this winter, this is a must-see film. It has all of the elements of a quality family film: warmth, credible characters, good writing, and wonderful acting.
The film reminded me a bit of “To Kill A Mockingbird” in that it is narrated by the female child lead. It also has a similar pace and takes place in the south. The film teaches us that the sweet things in life are closely related to those things that can cause sorrow. Many times it is hard for us to separate the two. The film engages the audience in the life of India Opal Baloney and her determined search for friends in a new hometown. Opal’s father, the town preacher, hasn’t really connected with his daughter since his wife left them. Opal prays to God for friends and to see her mother again.
Opal befriends a homeless dog who runs loose in the local Winn Dixie grocery store. She claims the dog is hers and quickly names him after the store. Opal brings Winn Dixie home, much to the displeasure of her preacher father and his landlord. The girl and her dog make many new friends because of Opal’s positive can-do attitude and Winn Dixie’s unique ability to smile.
Jeff Daniels is very good in this serious role, which is a far cry from his characters in “Dumb and Dumber” and “Escanaba in da Moonlight.” Cicely Tyson and Eva Marie Saint and singer Dave Matthews round out a capable ensemble cast. But, it’s new young actress Anna Sophia Robb and Winn Dixie who will win your heart.