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Laramie Movie Scope:

A children's story comes gently to the screen

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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August 9, 1998 -- "Madeline" is one of those old-fashioned family movies based on a children's story that retains its original sense of innocence. That's a refreshing change.

Most movies today, such as "Small Soldiers" are very light on the story and very heavily into product placement and marketing the toys and fast foods associated with the movies. "Madeline," by contrast, seems to have come out of some time warp.

This movie is all about old-fashioned values, like having proper manners, being honest, compassionate and having faith in God. It seems almost revolutionary, compared to the weak situational ethics seen in most films now.

The story is so light as to be non-existent. It revolves around a scheme by the owner of a girl's school in Paris to sell the school and the schemes of the girls in the school to defeat that plan. There is also a kidnapping thrown in for a little excitement, but there's no real drama because it is obvious there's no real danger of anything bad happening in the film.

The comedy is as light as the story. There are few big laughs in the film, but it did make me smile because of its charm. It stars Oscar-winner Frances McDormand ("Fargo") as the nun (Miss Clavel), Nigel Hawthorne as the owner of the school, (Lord Covington) and Hatty Jones as Madeline. It isn't as good a family film as, say "The Parent Trap," but it is passable entertainment, especially for kids. This film rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1998 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)