Review: The Great Gilly Hopkins

Recently, I watched The Great Gilly Hopkins, a movie on Netflix that could only be called "family fare" which is not to say it was overly-sentimental and bland as so many movies of that type are.

The movie, based on the book of the same name by Katherine Paterson--billed as a realistic children's novel--is about a child stuck in the foster care system.

What's It All About, Alfie?

Gilly Hopkins, a 12-year-old wisecracking girl with an attitude, finds herself shuffled from foster home to foster home.

That changes when she meets her match in Maime Trotter, a woman who won't take no for an answer when she offers unconditional love and support.

This movie is also available to rent or buy from Amazon Video.

Stellar Cast

To be honest, I clicked play on the movie because of the cast. With a cast like these pros, how could I not watch this children's movie?

You've got Kathy Bates as foster mom Maime Trotter, Bill Cobbs as blind neighbor Mr. Randolph, Glenn Close as Gilly's grandmother who didn't even know a granddaughter existed, Octavia Spencer as Gilly's teacher, Julia Stiles as Gilly's long-absent mother, and Billy Magnussen as Gilly's social worker.

Teary-Eyed Finish

Yes, the story is predictable. We know from the get-go that Gilly will be transformed by love and stability, but that doesn't stop you from watching to the very end. The characters are beautifully brought to life by the superb cast.

Gilly learns some hard truths of life: bearing a child doesn't necessarily make a woman a mother and  no matter how hard one wants to believe something, reality has a way of revealing truth. She also learns that love carries with it responsibility.

The viewer is left teary-eyed yet satisfied because those truths resonate with the audience too.

Takeaway Truth

If you're looking for a family-friendly movie with a good message delivered without sanctimony, watch The Great Gilly Hopkins.

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