Friday, November 7, 2008

DVD Review: Goodnight Moon

Many parents are familiar with Margaret Wise-Brown's story about a little bunny going to bed and saying goodnight to everything in his room. The HBO special, Goodnight Moon, from the late 1990's is about half an hour long and includes a few other stories and songs, as well as several children discussing their dreams and nighttime rituals.

An all-star cast enhances this already brilliantly crafted program--Susan Sarandon reads the title story, and there are performances by Tony Bennett, Lauryn Hill, Patti LaBelle, and more. That said, the real stars in this program are clearly the children. They are "real" children, not actors, from different schools, religious organizations, and other groups including Rainbows, which is a support group for children who are dealing with the loss of a close relative.

From beginning to end, the children are simply captivating. Their delivery is genuine. The subject matter, while not completely serious, is well-thought out.

One of our favorite parts of the program is when two boys, one right after the other, try to tell people that monsters are not real and that there is nothing to fear. "They just do that to make television shows, like Godzilla! There's no such thing as a huge lizard that goes around and steps on everything" followed by a little guy with an endearing speech problem in which can't say his R's yet "If you have a toy that's really scary, and it comes to life in your dreams, you have to stand up to it. That toy isn't even real! You've gotta tell yourself, 'that toy isn't real. that toy isn't real.'"

The children are very intelligent. One little girl describes what a lullaby should be, and has written her own lullaby. Another girl narrates a very vivid dream that she had about the Beatles. A boy instructs us that "if we didn't have dreams, we wouldn't be able to notify our minds into wonderful things or horrible things...while we're sleeping."

The majority of the children seem to be about 6 or 7 years old, with some being a little older, and a few a little younger.

In terms of areas that need improvement...I cannot think of any! The program is great. It even stands up to about 20 viewings during this hospital stay with The Boy, and then some, without being annoying. I still look forward to the part where a little boy says, "If you have a bad dream and you're scared, you just squeeze your teddy bear and then you'll feel better."

Everyone--buy this movie for your kids. I'd say that children up to age 8 would enjoy the movie, no question, and older children would like it without admitting it.

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