Christmas Day + new Tom Hanks movie = Best. Day. Ever. Right?
Knowing where you belong is important. Being able to find that place can be hard. Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel search for that in News of the World. This new Universal Pictures movie hits theaters nationwide on December 25th. Billed as a moving story written and directed by Paul Greengrass, is this movie worth seeing? Read my spoiler free review and find out if this Christmas Day release is a family movie or a date night.
What is News of the World about?
A Civil War veteran agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, against her will. They travel hundreds of miles and face grave dangers as they search for a place that either can call home.
Captain Kidd is Tom Hanks
Let’s face it – we all love Tom Hanks. A quick online search will yield results calling Hanks “America’s Dad.” He’s the guy that always chooses the right way to do things, reminds us of our moral obligations, and makes everyone feel better. Tom Hanks is this movie. And if I am being honest, the only reason to see this movie. The story falls flat, which can make the 118 minute run time a bit unbearable at times. Hanks is definitely the “pick-me-up” with his genuine performance.
Is News of the World a family movie?(may contain spoilers)
News of the World is rated PG-13 for thematic material, some language, disturbing images and violence. This is always so subjective. While you are the best advocate for what your child can handle and should watch, here are a few trigger points I found in this movie. This may reveal what some would consider a spoiler.
This is a movie set in the West after the Civil War. It’s a western, with a few typical western elements. There are gun fights that lead to people being shot and killed. While there is some use of language in this movie, the most disturbing was the innuendo of an older man wanting to buy the 10 year old from Captain Kidd. One scene does suggest that Captain Kidd spent the night with a woman. Disturbing images, while not numerous, are also present, featuring flashbacks and the aftermath of an attack.
There is not enough plot in this movie for younger children to remain entertained. With these thoughts in mind, the movie is best suited for older children.
If you have ever read any of my reviews, you know that I always enjoy a feel-good movie. News of the World is, hands-down, a feel good movie. But, it is also a movie that could have been so much more.
Hanks takes the role of Captain Kidd seriously, delivering a wonderful performance of a man who has nothing but his stories. He is a widower with no other family, which could have been used to deepen our relationship with him. Hanks takes what he was given, and runs with it. Even though we are left yearning to understand his character better, we still love him.
Johanna, played by 12 year old Helena Zengel, packed a powerful punch in her mostly non-speaking role. Zengel’s eyes tell her whole story. When she feels fear, you feel scared for her. When she feels anger, you are angry with her. And when she feels affection, you want to cry for her. There are a few tug at your heartstrings moments with her, but unfortunately, this is another character that we are left yearning to know more about.
We have two characters that are lost, but with each other, they are able to find where they belong. It is this strong combination of Hanks and Zengel that gives us a realistic feel for their characters and the relationship they have. I just wish we had seen more. (I feel like I have said that a lot in this review.)
Christmas Day Release
A feel-good movie for a Christmas Day release is a good choice for most. While News of the World does leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, it can also leave you feeling underwhelmed all at the same time. And that is slightly disappointing. I enjoyed the story, but as an almost 2 hour movie, I wish there had been more to it. I felt that most of the character development was rushed, while other less important scenes were very detailed and drawn out.
Will you see News of the World on Christmas Day? Let me know what you thought when you do see it!