For every three hundred movies or so that I moan and groan about not being good for little girls to see, about not having enough female lead characters, and about being misogynistic and generally awful, there is one that really delivers what I’m looking for. One such movie is the adorable children’s flick, Ramona and Beezus. (Warning: there are spoilers in this review!)
The story is based on Beverly Cleary’s classic children’s series, and is based around the Quimby family and all of their crazy adventures and hardships—from a layoff to a possible house sale to the death of the family cat. The titular girls are funny, dynamic, interesting, and smart—what you would hope female characters might always be. The rest of the women in the film are as well. From a mother in the medical profession to Ramona’s strong teacher who ultimately saves her family (along with Ramona herself), there are some great role models in the film.
Ramona herself, of course, is the epitome of the adventurous, inventive little girl who wants to save her family home and comes up with all kinds of brilliant and well-intentioned ideas to do it. Her age just gets in the way most of the time. She’s also super funny, particularly in scenes where she pretends, squeezes out all of the toothpaste, and warns the family she’s going to use a curse word before screaming out, “Guts!”
Joey King and Selena Gomez are adorable as the titular characters. They aren’t sexualized at all, and they aren’t caricatures of females serving as the buddy or the love interest or something equally boring for a male to obtain like a prize at the end of the movie. Instead, they are charming, goofy, loveable, and spunky—just like little girls should be! They might wear barrettes and carry purses in one scene, but in the next they are hanging from monkey bars or spewing lemonade—and they are never dressed other than how little girls should be dressed. I really hope they’ll make more of these movies for kids to enjoy; they did with Diary of a Wimpy Kid, after all, and that wasn’t even half as good as these Beverly Cleary classics.
The film also features an all-star cast, making it something that adults will surely enjoy. You’ve got Bridget Moynahan and Ginnifer Goodwin as the spunky sisters—Ramona’s mother and aunt—who fully support the girls even when Ramona is having a tough time. Then there’s Ramona’s stern but fair teacher, played by Sandra Oh. Ramona’s dad is played by cutie John Corbett, and her aunt’s beau is none other than the darling Josh Duhamel.
This movie is appropriate for all ages and is such a wonderful movie for girls and boys to both see. It’s more than that, though; I think it’s a prime example for Hollywood about what a movie featuring girls as the main characters can—and should—be like. Skip the princesses and the sidekicks and the damsels in distress, Powers That Be, and give us some real girls for our daughters to enjoy watching and look up to—
Give us more Ramona!