I don't know you. I don't want to assume that you, like me, grew up reading all the Beverly Cleary books about Beezus, Ramona, or Henry Huggins, or the many other wonderful characters she created over the years.
I can only speak for myself when I say that her books were probably the most important books in my childhood. Sure, I talk about Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables, but Ramona and Beezus came long before Laura or Anne.
So, when I saw the previews for Ramona and Beezus, the movie, I was skeptical. I mean, Hollywood doesn't have a great record when it comes to translating cherished childhood memories to the big screen. Or even the little screen.
It came out, and I missed it at the theater, and then completely forgot about it. But, luckily, I came across it on my cable line-up last week, and made a point to record it. I mean, it's been rainy here, and I need something to to do with myself, right?
I watched it last week, on a gray, rainy, depressing day, and was very pleasantly surprised. In fact, here's where I admit I re-watched it earlier this week, just because it was so sweet.
I was planning on reviewing it for you all later this month, but when I did my research for important birthdays coming up this week, and saw that today is Beverly Cleary's birthday, I had to move it up the list a bit.
If you've read any of the Ramona books, you'll immediately recognize the Ramona in the movie. She's exactly like you'd expect her to be. She's full of life and energy and all the wonderful imagination you'd expect from her. The movie itself is as sweet as you'd hope too. It's not a perfect film, but it's a heart-warming happy movie, and perfect for a rainy day or a pick-me-up when you need one.
What I love about Ramona the most is that although she is always finding herself in situations that are just plain bizarre, she is always herself. She starts off wishing she was more like her older sister, Beezus, who, if you remember the books, is perfect. But Ramona isn't perfect -- at least in that she doesn't get straight As or get great reviews from her teachers. She can't be like Beezus, because she's Ramona. We go through the movie seeing her with the infamous scene with the egg and the school picture day, and all kinds of other mishaps -- everything you'd hope to see included in the film. In the end, she is reassured by her parents, her teacher, and even Beezus, that she is exactly how she should be -- she should be the best Ramona she can be.
The only complaint I have about the movie is a very small one. I think in an effort to make the movie appeal to the adults in the audience, there is a love story between Ramona's Aunt Beatrice and Hobart, the neighbor, and a smaller, parallel romance between Beezus and Henry Huggins. Although they're sweet, and at least the women involved are somewhat independent beings outside of their romance stories, it seems a bit cliché for a kids movie. That said, I can live with that since Aunt Beatrice goes off with Hobart to live in Alaska, it still feels like adventure is more important than just getting married. Or at least like getting married is just another form of adventure.
And I'm OK with that. Because even adventurous princesses fall in love, right?
Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary. Thank you so so so much for the many hours of adventure when I was a girl.