: Ramona and Beezus
Based on the books by Beverly Cleary
I like children’s books but their movie adaptations can leave a lot to be desired. While this one is rocky in a few places, they did a surprisingly good job overall. The tone fits the original classic books, with mischievous 9-year-old Ramona’s overactive imagination getting her into trouble, yet they modernized the language in such a way that it doesn’t feel out of date.
The core plot is about Ramona being worried that the bank’s going to take their house (in her mind the bank literally takes it on a flatbed truck) and so she’s trying to raise money and of course everything she does is a disaster. Usually in such a film the hijinks are slapstick absurd and just dumb, but here they are not that bad. For the most part they are believable and don’t feel forced.
The young lead actress is perfectly cast as Ramona, with just the right blend of mischief and heart-touching cuteness. Everyone else is fine, except the father felt miscast (too young and good-looking).
I really liked the ending and the way everything was wrapped up so perfectly, down to the perfect detail of Ramona getting to use her vocabulary word from earlier in the film and especially the way she and her teacher made up.
Overall this is a touching family tale. It may not be all edgy and hip like some modern stuff, but it’s a deeper, much more emotional experience. I’m surprised it didn’t do better at the box office. It’s definitely worth seeing and was much better than I expected.