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Johanna Spyri's classic family tale of girl who wins the hearts of everyone she meets returns in a fresh, new retelling featuring an all-star cast--Heidi. As a young orphan, Heidi (Emma Bolger--In America) goes to live with her grumpy grandfather (Max von Sydow--Minority Report, Pelle the Conqueror)). But the idyllic life they create together ends abruptly when Heidi's aunt claims custody and then sells Heidi to Mme. Rottenmeir (Geraldine Chaplin--Hable con Ella) to serve as a companion to an invalid girl in Rottenmeir's care. Now, in spite of Heidi's ability to befriend all around her, she soon misses her grandfather and longs for their life in the mountains.]]>
The beloved tale of Heidi, the Swiss miss whose indomitable spirit touches all those around her, despite having been dealt a harsh hand in life, gets a spunky boost in this 2005 film adaptation. A stellar cast includes Max von Sydow as Grandfather, a roiling-with-inner-rage Geraldine Chaplin as Rottenmeier, and a benevolent Diana Rigg as Grandmamma. At the center of their world--like it or not--is Heidi, played with irrepressible optimism by the adorable Emma Bolger. As the orphaned Heidi is flung from home to home, city to city, valley to mountain, by those who profess not to want her, she accepts her fate and still manages to cast sunshine on her bleak situation. This version features breathtaking scenery--Grandfather's mountain aerie looks more like a Canadian Rockies summer spread than a place of self-imposed solitary confinement. At times the pan-European cast gives the film a feel of being the United Nations on location; Chaplin and Rigg's upper-crust British accents clash with von Sydow's clipped Swedish delivery, and Bolger's accent adorably reflects her Dublin roots. (Only the goats truly look Swiss.) But the story of Heidi has a huge heart, and this film is family entertainment in the best sense of the word. --A.T. Hurley
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