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Belle and Sebastian (Film) Review

 
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At A Glance...
 

Genre: ,
 
Length: 99 minutes
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


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We liked?


A heartwarming story of a boy and his dog.

Not so much?


It is dubbed, so obviously the voices and lip movements do not match up, and the WWII setting may bring up some questions from young children.


Final Fiendish Findings?

“Based on the beloved children’s book” Belle and Sebastian is, at its heart, a story about a boy and his dog. Young Sebastian doesn’t talk much, but he knows the wild dog that all of the villagers are afraid of is the not the culprit behind the dead sheep that have been turning up lately. […]

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Posted July 1, 2015 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings?
 
 

“Based on the beloved children’s book”

Belle and Sebastian is, at its heart, a story about a boy and his dog. Young Sebastian doesn’t talk much, but he knows the wild dog that all of the villagers are afraid of is the not the culprit behind the dead sheep that have been turning up lately. So, despite the oft-repeated warnings of his caretaker, he sets off to tame “the beast”. What ensues is a heart warming story of two lost souls finding each other. Though the dog, Belle, has been mistreated by humans in the past, she quickly comes to love gentle Sebastian. And Sebastian, who has seen his family and his village torn apart, finds a kindred spirit in the massive dog.

Their story is set during World War II. Their tiny French village is occupied by Nazi soldiers, who seem to terrorize villagers and help themselves to their food and provisions almost daily. The soldiers’ goal is to stop escaping Jews, who have been making their way through the mountain passes to neutral Switzerland – with the help of some courageous villagers. It’s a dangerous situation all around, and Sebastian always seems to be in the middle of the trouble. Though he is young, Sebastian is fearless and knows his way around the Alps better than almost anyone. It is this combination of courage, skills, and an exceptional canine companion that will help these two save the day.

Belle and Sebastian is originally a French film, which has been dubbed for this dvd. Though obviously the words and the lip movement don’t match up, the English dubbing is well done, with the voices matching well to the actor’s, and you really don’t even notice once you get into the film. Sebastian is played by Félix Bossuet, who is just about the most adorable little boy you’ve ever seen. More than that, he is very convincing as a young boy who has the run of the Alps, engaging viewers in his story right from the start. Cesar, a drunken sheepherder has raised Sebastian with the help of his great niece Angelina, and the three of them make up a family that is both as unconventional in form and function as it is conventional in their bond of love.

Belle and Sebastian is a nice family film that you can enjoy with kids of all ages. Though you may have to explain a little about why people want to get away from the soldiers, there is really no violence or even overt mentions of Nazi activities. As I said, at it’s heart, it is a story of a boy and his dog – and kids will spellbound by the bond between courageous Sebastian and gentle Belle.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)