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Heidi

Score: 75%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Film Movement
Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 111 Mins.
Genre: Family/Drama/Adventure
Audio: English, English 5.1 Surround
           Sound, German 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English

Heidi is a re-imagined version of the beloved children's classic by Johanna Spiri. Anuk Steffen stars as Heidi/Adelheid, a spirited orphan who is brought by her Aunt Dete (Anna Schinz) to live with her grandfather (Bruno Ganz), a hermit goat farmer who lives in a remote area of the Swiss Alps. At first, Grandfather doesn't want anything to do with the child. He is a hermit, after all. However, Heidi is plucky and resourceful and soon worms her way into his closed heart. She quickly makes friends with Grandfather's young goat herder, Peter (Quirin Agrippi), but becomes dismayed when Peter must go back to school for the fall and winter.

Once Heidi and Grandfather fall into a quiet routine and the spring returns, so does Aunt Dete with the offer of a fine family in Frankfurt, Germany that she met through her work. The very wealthy Sesseman family have a sickly young wheelchair-bound daughter named Klara (Isabelle Ottman) who is desperately in need of companionship. Grandfather doesn't want Heidi to leave and Heidi prefers to stay as well, but Aunt Dete tricks the child and spirits her away to Frankfurt. Once she arrives, the family governess, Ms. Rottenmeier (Katharina Schuttler) immediately rejects this wild unteachable child, but Klara and Heidi click together. Despite Ms. Rottenmeier's best attempts, Klara's father and grandmother see Heidi as a positive and she stays on. Sadly, Heidi dearly misses Grandfather, Peter, and the Alps, but she is not allowed to return home.

As Klara's health improves with Heidi's presence, Heidi's declines as she is so heartsick for her home. Eventually, the doctor insists that she return to the Alps, and all is right with her world once more, although she and Klara dearly miss one another. When Klara is allowed to visit Heidi in the mountains, she sees how the mountain child lives and experiences a completely new outlook on life.

Heidi is a classic country mouse/city mouse tale, although I am betting parents and grandparents would find it more entertaining than children of this day and age. With the advent of technology infiltrating every facet of life, most kids are rather savvy and I doubt they would find this simpler time relatable. Also, I'll be honest, I was a little creeped out by Grandfather carrying a dead goat on his shoulders and tossing the limp body on the butcher's counter. Fortunately, they didn't show anything more than the exchange of money, but since it was a European movie, I wasn't sure how far it would go.

That said, I remember watching various iterations of Heidi as a child and reading the book, and I enjoyed the film for its nostalgia purposes. The acting was fairly good and Anuk Steffen as Heidi is infectious and adorable. The English subtitles don't match the English dubbing very well, but are amusing, such as everyone calling Grandfather "Alp-Uncle." Regardless, Heidi is a classic tale and one that will provide wholesome family entertainment and glorious mountain vistas. If you want to expose your kids to a different time and place, and quite frankly, let them see how good they have it now, Heidi is a great place to start.



-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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