Friday, July 23, 2010

Movie review: Ramona and Beezus

I have always been a huge book lover and have many favorite books. But there were some books that I read and loved over and over again. Books like the Little House series and the Anne of Green Gables series and, of course, the Ramona Quimby books. I loved the Ramona books for so many reasons- the situations that she got into were hysterical, her family was so loving, and I could relate to so much of the growing-up angst that Ramona was always dealing with. And the Ramona books are set in Portland, Oregon, in the neighborhood where my mom grew up, and close to where I lived as a kid. What's not to love!

So I JUMPED at the chance to attend a press screening for a new movie based on Beverly Cleary's Ramona books, called Ramona and Beezus. The movie stars Selena Gomez as the older sister, Beezus, and Joey King as Ramona. Here's some info on the movie, if you're not familiar with Ramona Quimby:
Director: Elizabeth Allen
Screenplay by: Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay, based on the novels by Beverly Cleary
Producers: Denise Di Novi, Alison Greenspan
Cast: Selena Gomez, Joey King, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Duhamel, Sandra Oh
The adventures of young Ramona Quimby (newcomer Joey King) and her big sister Beezus (Selena Gomez) come to life in this all new film based on the best-selling books (over 30 million...and counting) by Beverly Cleary. Ramona's vivid imagination, boundless energy, and accident-prone antics keep everyone she meets on their toes. But her irrepressible sense of fun, adventure and mischief come in handy when she puts her mind to helping save her family's home.

I was so pleased that this movie lived up to my expectations. The actors were wonderful, especially the girls playing Ramona and Beezus. I laughed at Ramona's antics, felt sorry for her when all her best efforts went wrong, cried in the sad parts and left the theater feeling like I'd been attending a wonderful family reunion.  My only complaint was that it made me feel old, realizing that once upon a time I related to Ramona and her issues and now I am firmly in the world of her parents! :)

For the most part, many of the storylines in this movie were ones I recognized from the books that I read as a kid, many years ago. Yes, there were some parts that were tweaked from the main storylines, and the characters were a little more "pretty" and "polished" than those I imagined reading the books, but I thought the movie was very true to the spirit and the feel of the Ramona books.   One of the things that I love about the Ramona books is that Mrs. Cleary wrote them years apart, from 1955 to 1999, always setting them in the time period that she's writing. This movie carries that on, putting Ramona and her family in today's world. 

Even if you didn't read the Ramona books, this movie is a wonderful, feel-good family movie and I think that any family would enjoy watching it.  And after you've seen it, go check out all of Beverly Cleary's books at your local library or bookstore for the kid in your life!

Ramona and Beezus opens today, July 23. 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but did attend a press screening of this movie at no cost to myself. All opinions posted here are mine and mine alone.