Tuesday, September 9, 2008

When Zachary Beaver Came To Town

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town is a heart-wrenching feel good movie that covers some very difficult topics. This movie does not shy away from topics that provoke strong feelings. The story revolves around the child actors who deliver excellent performances that do the exceptional writing justice.

The Plot contains many sub-plots and storylines that keep the movie moving along. Even the detail to microscopic sub-plots, such as: "Why does the town drunk drink so much?" These small details throughout the movie add depth to the interesting cast of characters. The plot might be your typical "child hero" type plot, but it is not simplistic. The tough topics that they tackle in this movie contain themes that most child films would not go after. This movie is based on the book by Kimberly Willis Holt, adapted to screenplay by John Schultz. The success of this movie relies heavily on the writing, which is nothing short of phenomenal. Kimberly Willis Holt won the 1999 National Book award for fiction for this book.

The Casting and Acting support the superb writing. Jonathan Lipnicki is cast as Toby Wilson who struggles both with and against his best friend Cal, played by Cody Linley. They have a tremendous conflict near the end of the film that I won't discuss for the sake of not revealing major details. They also work together to help another child the same age as them, who is a sideshow act. He is touted as the world's largest boy. This part is played by Sasha Neulinger, who was young Hal in the movie Shallow Hal. These young actors get into and out of trouble together throughout this movie. They have good chemistry. The only weak point in the casting is Cody Linley, who I feel overplays his part a little bit a few times during this movie. That should probably be expected considering the subject matter which must be hard for a twelve year old to grasp.

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