Lassie (PG)

Film

Family films

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Time Out says

Mon Dec 12 2005

If the film industry sticks to its usual pattern of adopting a trend, we can all expect a spate of live-action animal films over the coming year. First out of the traps is this affable adaptation of Eric Knight’s 1938 novel, ‘Lassie Come Home’, followed in February by the release of ‘Greyfriars Bobby’, about a scruffy mutt that supposedly helped change the course of Edinburgh’s history. But that’s another story…

When Yorkshire coalminer Sam Carraclough (John Lynch) loses his job during the 1930s depression, he and his supportive wife (Samantha Morton) are left with no option but to start selling their possessions. The last straw for their young son (Jonathan Mason) is the heartwrenching sale of the family’s beloved rough collie to a wealthy Scottish Duke (Peter O’Toole, no less), who lives a few miles away. After several attempts to escape from under the nose of the Duke’s cruel kennelman (Steve Pemberton), Lassie is finally taken up to Scotland, where she stays cooped up until the opportunity arises for her to bolt once again. This time, however, the journey home’s a lot more adventurous…

Shot amid the lush countryside of Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man, Charles Sturridge’s adaptation addresses many of Knight’s original concerns, especially that of Britain’s class structure (hence the opening juxtaposition of wealthy red-coated huntsmen seen tracking a fox through the lead characters’ poor, working-class village). There’s not much to grumble about: most of the performances are nicely honed, the cinematography and editing’s excellent and, despite the swooning strings, it’s not too sentimental. However, you might still wish to take a hanky with you – just in case.
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Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Fri Dec 16, 2005

Duration:

99 mins

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